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"Why I skip red lights": Journalist makes the case for cyclists riding through reds; Finish fisticuffs as Benoît Cosnefroy grabs British rider after sprinting incident; Jumbo-Visma pro tests positive + more on the live blog

It's a sunny Thursday here on the live blog where Dan Alexander will be taking you one step closer to the weekend with today's round-up of all that's going on in the cycling world...
17 August 2023, 07:47
"Why I skip red lights": Journalist makes the case for cyclists riding through reds

Journalist Sophie Wilkinson has penned a column for the Evening Standard outlining why she believes cyclists should be allowed to ride through red lights (so long as they give pedestrians priority)...

She writes...

I find it is far better is to jump lights — which is why I say make it legal for cyclists to jump red lights and so much more in order to maintain our safety. 

As I always give pedestrians right of way, the only life I risk by jumping a red is my own. Turning left at a junction? I believe it is far safer to do so before the vehicle behind gets the same idea and pulls me under its wheels.

And why shouldn't a bike go through a set of green pedestrian lights when there are simply no pedestrians in sight? 

 Thoughts?

We wouldn't be the first place to allow it. Cyclists in Paris are allowed to at some junctions (much to the surprise of my visit last year, armed with my very British confusion and willingness to wait in a queue, as legions of Lime bike hirers nonchalantly sailed past me and safely through junctions). Likewise it's permitted in some other cities on the continent, while in Idaho cyclists must come to a full stop before proceeding and must yield to other traffic.

> Should cyclists be allowed to ride through red lights? Campaigners split on safety benefits

Last year, Colorado adopted new legislation meaning at a stop sign, cyclists are required to "slow to a reasonable speed" and give way to any motor traffic or pedestrians at the junction before proceeding. On encountering a red traffic light, they have to stop at the junction and give way to any vehicles or pedestrians there before continuing on their way – even if the lights haven't changed.

What do you think? Do you always stop at red lights? Would you like to see a change to the law? Would it make things safer? We'll round up some reaction to the piece next...

17 August 2023, 11:51
Your thoughts on whether cyclists should be allowed to ride (cautiously) through red lights

Just a few comments on this one... let's get cracking and hopefully we're all done in time for tea...

Sriracha: "Of course it is safer for the cyclist to make the left turn before the adjacent HGV does the same. But I don't think having cyclists jump red lights is the answer. Longer term I'd like to see separate lights for cyclists (like the little ones you see in France) that would go green ahead of the main lights, anywhere where there is a cycle box/ASL (which need to be the norm, not the exception)."

Rendel Harris: "While I'd be happy for cyclists to be allowed through red lights in certain situations - left turn on red for example – I think it would be an horrendous mistake to allow them to run reds on pedestrian crossings. Just last night I was watching our bikes outside East Dulwich station whilst Herself picked up some shopping, in five minutes I saw at least a dozen cyclists run through the red at the pelican crossing whilst pedestrians were on it; at least half of them were riding in excess of 20 mph (it's at the bottom of a hill) and had to swerve around people crossing.

"If this is the way people behave when it's totally illegal, I can't see any improvement occurring if it was made legal. Any legislation to allow any leeway for cyclists at lights must remember the hierarchy of road users and have pedestrian safety as its #1 priority."  

neilmck: "In France there will be a little sign with arrows on the traffic light telling you which directions you can go on red. Whether or not there are these signs depends whether or not there is a cyclist working in the local town hall (this can also be determined by looking at the width of the cycle lanes).

"I commute 50km by bicycle everyday in Paris and I generally go through red lights in the outer Parisian region where there is very light traffic and no pedestrians, however I would never do so (except at a signalled junction) in central Paris (there is just too much happening to be safe)."

Kerry Palmer: "It's been legal in some States in the US since 1982... and most of the evidence found it's safer."

Fair few Facebook comments, I'd suggest without actually reading the article in question, missing out completely the idea Sophie suggested it become law... and instead just piling into one great big anti-cycling bingo round. Gives 'em something to do at lunch, I guess...

Morgoth985: "Seems to me that a lot of the objections to the going through red lights idea are along the lines of 'don't break the law, it will just encourage drivers to do the same'. But if it was a change to the HC then it wouldn't be breaking the law.

"Granted, it would be giving some road users a right that others don't have, which might annoy the 'have nots', but too bad, that's actually the idea, and wouldn't be the only instance.  [edit: I meant the extra right is the idea, not the annoyance, although who knows, maybe that would be worth it too!]"

17 August 2023, 15:56
The road bike we should all be riding? The road.cc Podcast + Matt Page takes on the long winding road just to start Paris–Brest–Paris

Here's a quick round up of some of the other stuff around the site this afternoon, starting with Jamie's vid on the 2023 Canyon Endurace...

Elsewhere, we've also got our latest episode of the road.cc Podcast out now wherever you get you podcasts...

road.cc Podcast episode 58

> Around the world without a motor + How to save serious watts with Aerocoach's Xavier Disley on the road.cc Podcast

While Matt Page has penned a piece on why just getting to the start line of Paris-Brest-Paris is a bit of a faff... and we don't mean travel wise...

> The very long road to Paris — just getting to the start line of the legendary Paris–Brest–Paris bike ride is a journey in itself

17 August 2023, 15:37
Primož Roglič wins Vuelta a Burgos stage as Vuelta a España prep continues

More good news for Jumbo-Visma's website to move things on from the past 24 hours...

17 August 2023, 14:45
Scotland's "unluckiest cyclist" wins compensation – after being knocked off his bike for third time
17 August 2023, 14:25
Will the last person to leave Ineos please turn out the lights?
Ben Tulett (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

[Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com]

We touched on Ben Tulett's Ineos exit a bit earlier while trying to work out the absence of Michel Hessmann's positive test from Jumbo-Visma's website. The latest departure means the team has just 15 riders signed up for next season, half of how many are currently on their books.

And while it would mean just needing three of the hideous self-named 4x4s to ferry the entire squad about, one guesses fulfilling a WorldTour calendar with such scarce numbers might be slightly more challenging.

Tao Geoghegan Hart is off to Lidl-Trek, Daniel Martínez to Bora-Hansgrohe, Pavel Sivakov to UAE and Tulett to Jumbo. Of course, the 11 remaining out of contract riders can still extend their stay, but we'd expect some reinforcements soon... unless the 2024 plan is just Pidcock, Bernal, Kwiatkowski and Geraint Thomas to ride all three Grand Tours, with Filippo Ganna and Josh Tarling doing the work of two riders each...

17 August 2023, 13:54
???

I'm not sure what to say about this, to be honest...

Good potential for comment section punning, I guess... 

17 August 2023, 12:52
Eurostar bike booking process branded "farcical"
Eurostar (public domain by Campus France)

> Eurostar bike booking process branded "farcical"

As discussed a bit in the live blog comments...

17 August 2023, 11:15
Do the latest track bikes favour wealthier nations, and how will the UCI respond?
17 August 2023, 10:13
Jumbo-Visma rider Michel Hessmann suspended after positive anti-doping test
Michel Hessmann 2023 Giro d'Italia (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

(Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

It's been one of those weeks for the sport of cycling...

On Tuesday, former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman was banned from all sports for four years by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) for violating its rules by taking possession of Testogel for unnamed riders.

Dr Richard Freeman (picture credit Team Sky)

Then, last night, Jumbo-Visma, the team that has won both Grand Tours so far this year and the last two editions of the Tour de France, announced that a rider on their books had been suspended after an out-of-competition doping test came back positive for a diuretic medicine.

Not that you'd know it from the team's website, where news of Ben Tulett's signing from Ineos Grenadiers and the team time trial success at Vuelta a Burgos is all that's deemed worthy of mention.

Michel Hessmann is the rider involved, the team announcing the news only on social media in a post with replies disabled. The German was part of the line-up that helped Primož Roglič win the Giro, having finished third at Tour de l'Avenir last season, and was last week competing in the road race in Glasgow.

"It concerned an out-of-competition control on 14 June in Germany. The detected product is a diuretic medicine. We await the results of further investigation. Michel has been suspended by the team until further notice," Jumbo-Visma's short social media statement read.

17 August 2023, 09:20
Finish fisticuffs as Benoît Cosnefroy grabs Lewis Askey after sprinting incident

Drama after yesterday's Tour du Limousin sprint, British rider Lewis Askey bearing the brunt of Benoît Cosnefroy's ire... 

Askey later explained he had gone to see the Frenchman to explain what had happened from his viewpoint, adding that they had shaken hands and there is "no bad blood".

Cosnefroy gave his side of the story too... "You have to look at the last 150 metres. It's the game to put me in the box, but from there to put me at the feet of barriers... It's his job to put me in the box, if he does it — there's no problem, but between putting myself in the box so that I don't pass and putting me at the feet of barriers, there is a difference.

Benoît Cosnefroy grabs Lewis Askey (GCN)

"We already take enough risks on the bike, we are often afraid for our lives, and when you see yourself touching the barrier feet, I can tell you that it's scary. The team worked superbly, so I wanted to look for the win and I felt that I had it surely in my legs. no more fear at the finish, that's just it."

17 August 2023, 08:27
Reaction to the Evening Standard red light column

Some reaction to Sophie Wilkinson's column now...

Basel red light study (picture credit VDB)

There are plenty of people placing the emphasis of the discussion around the need to still give way to pedestrians crossing and not put those on foot in danger.

Robin Hawkes replied to Jeremy Vine's tweet: "The 'pedestrian priority' part of this is what most troubles me, as I simply do not see it happening so often in practice."

Another reply suggested it could "increase risk unnecessarily".

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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66 comments

Avatar
David9694 | 9 months ago
2 likes

"99% of traffic installations are there for cars, to solve problems caused by cars - so nothing to do with me, thanks" vs the idea that we have to set the example to drivers - e.g. I'm looking at you, Mrs horse rider with you 'phone out yesterday, or idiot cyclist filming himself riding along the road a few month back.

Funny how some wierd parity argument suddenly comes to the fore "cyclists will have to obey 20 mph limits". Stop killing 4-5 people each day and injuring dozens more and we might think about it. 

The red light jumping and pavement cycling are both lies that drivers have been pretty successful at installing in the public's mind as "always" happening - a brilliant distraction from the industrial scale offending by drivers.

All a big roundabout or one way system does is degrade life for everyone else; as with the Rotherham housing estate / no road markings story shows, drivers are increasingly having to be spoon-fed the most basic common sense or skill - which is all fine & dandy because the Road Tax and fuel duty (every Penny of which is bitterly resented) will cover the costs. 

 

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brooksby | 9 months ago
1 like

I feel like I've come back to this thread and missed a really big change of tone... 

Why the heated discussion of lesser known 1960s skiffle bands?

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essexian replied to brooksby | 9 months ago
4 likes

Oh blimey! To claim "Own Butt" were a skiffle band could get you really into trouble in some parts!

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Clem Fandango replied to essexian | 9 months ago
4 likes

To paraphrase the great Den Dennis - I'm leaving the group if we're anything to do with the New Romantics skiffle bands!

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brooksby replied to essexian | 9 months ago
1 like

"Popular beat combo", then? 

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essexian replied to brooksby | 9 months ago
1 like

Ah, the four men who shook the Wirral.  Great stuff!

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TheHungryGhost replied to essexian | 9 months ago
1 like

were they not lads then, them wot did the shaking?

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Roulereo | 9 months ago
0 likes

I am going to declare red lights a hate crime, then just ride through them.

I will self identify as a law abiding citizen, I just need to be sure not to say anything like #LesbianNana to the police arresting me. 

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darnac | 9 months ago
0 likes

Pierre Rolland in the Équipe French TV coverage today said that he thought that if BC hadn't given his comments in the interview straight after the race the commissaires would have come down more heavily on Askey

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quiff | 9 months ago
0 likes

My slight concern is that there's a thin end of the wedge argument - if you allow cyclists to go through red on the proviso that they do so slowly, carefully, ceding to pedestrians etc, drivers might reasonably ask why they can't also go through reds on the same basis. I guess, to answer my own question, the reason it's different is because (a) if the driver gets it wrong, the result is likely to be far more injurious; and (b) that drivers also need to obey traffic lights for traffic network management, which doesn't affect cyclists in the same way.

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Roulereo replied to quiff | 9 months ago
0 likes

Is this confirmation of Road.cc completely disappearing up its own butt, quoting faceless comments in its own stories? 

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essexian replied to Roulereo | 9 months ago
2 likes

Anyone seen "Own Butt"? 

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perce replied to essexian | 9 months ago
2 likes

I think he made one album and then faded into obscurity, although he may play Glastonbury next year.

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Clem Fandango replied to perce | 9 months ago
1 like

Wasn't he a full back for Port Vale?
No, sorry that was Owen Butt. I think you are correct. According to Wikipedia Own Butt are still popular in Japan & regularly tour there.

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perce replied to Clem Fandango | 9 months ago
3 likes

I think his most well known song is '' I ripped my bottom open and now I wear a colostomy bag''. For some reason the BBC refused to play it.

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 9 months ago
3 likes
perce wrote:

I think his most well known song is '' I ripped my bottom open and now I wear a colostomy bag''. For some reason the BBC refused to play it.

Ah, that's why I never heard it. The one I'm aware of is "Faceless Comments" - they recorded as Tinfoil Dave and the Cyberbullies IIRC from a Peel session?

Was the unofficial anthem of the anti-LTN and ULEZ crew for a while.

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Clem Fandango replied to chrisonabike | 9 months ago
4 likes

Good knowledge sir.  Little known fact that Tinfoil Dave's singer "Fire man" Nigel McStongArm Roulero provided backing vocals on the Chicken Song.

 

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cyclisto | 9 months ago
0 likes

Agree with Sophie, not the end of the world a cyclist crossing a red light, especially in a country where there are no jaywalking laws and a bicycle/rider can have the same weight and speed of a fast jogger.

If we convince ourselves first as a community, then we may demand for it, with careful thought and adapted to local situations. But as I see here in the comments not even the cycling community is convinced about it, so maybe too early.

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chrisonabike replied to cyclisto | 9 months ago
1 like

cyclisto wrote:

Agree with Sophie, not the end of the world a cyclist crossing a red light, especially in a country where there are no jaywalking laws and a bicycle/rider can have the same weight and speed of a fast jogger. ...  But as I see here in the comments not even the cycling community is convinced about it, so maybe too early.

You can always hop off, run across (perfectly legal as you say) and jump back on.  Then (IIRC) legally you've not run a red light.

You still won't make any friends though,

Inconvenient?  A little, but you did say "...speed of a fast jogger"!

I don't think this is the way to go for the UK.  I don't think it much improves safety overall, if not the opposite.  Yes, in many situations it's no drama given "careful and observant cyclist" etc. but I think we will get the usual amount of predictable human fallibility, lazy and careless behaviour, the more the more people cycle.

I am in favour of something similar (not getting off bike / stopping at a pedestrian crossing) which I do think would improve safety and convenience for all... IF we make a small but significant modification to the street layout.

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Awavey replied to cyclisto | 9 months ago
0 likes

they dont have the same speed, you have to contrive up a fast jogger to make your comparison valid.

the average speed of a jogger is 6mph, average speed of a cyclist is 12mph.

that will make a significant difference to the amount of force/kinetic energy when you are hit as a pedestrian.

 

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cyclisto replied to Awavey | 9 months ago
0 likes

It is somehow comparable with pedestrians. A 1.5 ton car traveling at 30mph, is on a totally different level of kinetic energy.

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mctrials23 replied to cyclisto | 9 months ago
2 likes

I think the cycling community probably doesn't see anything wrong with the idea intrinsically but cycling has never been about what we do, its about how other behave towards us. 

Watch a video of drivers nearly killing people 20 times through dangerous driving, head on near misses that would 100% have killed someone and a single video of a cyclist going through a red light will have more comments and hate on it than all the driving ones. 

Giving drivers another reason to hate cyclists is an awful idea even if it makes sense from a safety and traffic flow issue. If drivers weren't so predjudiced against cyclists they would probably see the benefit of cyclists not having to stop and start so much in heavier traffic but thats sadly not the case. 

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Matthew Acton-Varian | 9 months ago
1 like

At least you had the backbone to share Dr Of All THingsd Bizarre's post, Dan

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Hirsute | 9 months ago
8 likes

Why I don't use the cycle path

//www.gazette-news.co.uk/resources/images/17117743.jpg?type=mds-article-620)

“The path itself is covered with silt and debris and the safety fencing is mangled from where a car hit it. It is also wildly overgrown. It’s not exactly safe or attractive."

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Bradshsi | 9 months ago
2 likes

So Ms Wilkinson's argument is basically - all the other road users behave badly and are breaking rules /laws so it is ok to do the same.

Apart from that being a lazy Tu Quoque logical fallacy, on a more practical level: FFS grow up and be an adult in the room even when everyone else is a toddler.

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Morgoth985 replied to Bradshsi | 9 months ago
6 likes

I don't think that's fair.  It's a call to change the law, not to break the law.

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chrisonabike replied to Bradshsi | 9 months ago
2 likes

Bradshsi wrote:

So Ms Wilkinson's argument is basically - all the other road users behave badly and are breaking rules /laws so it is ok to do the same. Apart from that being a lazy Tu Quoque logical fallacy, on a more practical level: FFS grow up and be an adult in the room even when everyone else is a toddler.

Well it's a short article so I can recommend you read it.  (FWIW I don't entirely agree with it, having better ideas in mind - but that's something else).

You won't find "but they jump red lights too!" exactly.  The closest the argument gets is the idea that it's safer for cyclists to get out of the way of cars - because cars may move when the lights are not green.  Not quite the same as "I shove people but you do too".

Sophie Wilkinson wrote:

I believe it is far safer to do so before the vehicle behind gets the same idea and pulls me under its wheels.

I think ending doesn't quite get the point.  The difference between motor vehicles and other road users is not the horsepower per se.  It's that motor vehicle having much greater acceleration, higher speeds and the occupants being almost invulnerable - certainly at no risk from cyclists or pedestrians.  Oh - and that when scanning for hazards drivers are often looking out for other motor vehicles (the most frequent item / greatest hazard to them), not necessarily for all other road users.

Sophie Wilkinson wrote:

... The next election may be fought on the A and B roads between suburbs and out-of-town offices, but for London, home to nearly one in seven people in the UK, it’s between your wheels and mine. Let cyclists jump red lights, encourage them to filter through on the left in a traffic jam, respect that we’re all just human beings and some of us have tonnes of horsepower under us and others really don’t.

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Matthew Acton-Varian | 9 months ago
1 like

I think that racing involving trade teams should be allowed to have bike development and choice involved as is the current case, but anything that involves National Federations, including World Championships and Olympic events, should be on standardised equipment. As there is little to no franchising in track racing, perhaps having events like 6 Days and the UCI Track Champions League involve trade teams to showcase these innovative equipment, and keep the "available for the public to buy" rule.

I made a similar observation on TT bikes in the comments of a GCN video (I think what we would like to ban from racing) how TT bikes also favour the richest trade teams, and that there is no affordable equipment available to buy new that is anywhere close to what's being developed.

Ten years ago you could get a third teir groupset equipped alloy frame TT bike for well under £2000, and an alloy framed track bike from a number of manufacturers for as little as £700. But becuase that market was so small the equipment doesn't exist any more (with the exception of Dolan Pre Cursa which is pretty much every velodrome hire bike too)

getting into the competitive side of the sport has become much harder as a result, and the introduction of a Road Bike category at CTT level has gone a long way to help, but a number of people who are new to the sport but are serious about track or TT racing and are on a limited budget are unable to afford any dedicated equipment and are forced to look to the secondhand market, which is both fairly scarce of equipment choice, and a minefield of item condition and usability.

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neilmck | 9 months ago
3 likes

In France there will be a little sign with arrows on the trafficlight telling you which directions you can go on red. Whether or not there are these signs depends whether or not there is a cyclist working in the local town hall (this can also be determined by looking at the width of the cycle lanes). I commute 50km by bicycle everyday in Paris and I generally go through red lights in the outer Parisian region where there is very light traffic and no pedestrians, however I would never do so (except at a signalled junction) in central Paris (there is just too much happening to be safe).

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Tom_77 | 9 months ago
4 likes

I once got hit on a pedestrian crossing by a cyclist*, so I've got some reservations about allowing cyclists to jump red lights.

Fundamentally this is an issue about motorists endangering cyclists and the solution is to tackle that, ideally with better infrastructure.

* 8 years old walking to the Post Office to buy sweets, I pressed the button and when the green man came on I crossed the road without looking.

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