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Questions asked after another police force keen to highlight crackdown on cyclists jumping red lights

Greater Manchester Police is the latest force to share pictures of officers disciplining cyclists for riding through red lights

Questions have been asked of Greater Manchester Police after the force shared news of a crackdown on cyclists jumping red lights in the city centre, with many doubting the operation is an effective use of resources.

The force's transport unit is the latest to ask riders to stop at red lights. Last week, the Metropolitan Police sent 14 officers on a 90-minute operation in Hackney to deter red light jumping cyclists — 18 were fined.

> Police in Hackney catch 18 red light jumping cyclists in 90 minutes

On Friday, Derbyshire Police also shared a video of a rider passing through a red light, saying the individual was fined, and accompanied the clip with a message insisting "cyclists must stop".

However, the Manchester post, below, has attracted a significant amount of responses questioning why the force is "prioritising" less dangerous offences, and others asking for more effective use of police resources.

The GMP Manchester City Centre account tweeted to its 176,000 followers: "Traffic offence reports were issued during this deployment, however officers have also utilised education alongside enforcement. By highlighting the dangers and refreshing their knowledge of the law we hope to reduce the risks to all road users, not just cyclists."

> Derbyshire Police share video of cyclist fined for jumping red light — insist "cyclists must stop"

Despite the explanation, many responses centred on questions around police resources, prioritising more dangerous offences, and doubts about if similar offences by other road users were also being targeted.

Prominent road safety campaigner CyclingMikey, who submits videos of law-breaking drivers to the police, called for more "evidence-led" policing.

> "Tired of road crime": CyclingMikey on episode 16 of the road.cc Podcast, plus how to make the most of your lunchbreak 

Another asked: "Did you see any cars speed up and go through changing lights? I see that frequently and is much more dangerous."

A campaign group dedicated to making the A56 in the North West of England safer for all users suggested there are "far more serious" dangers on the road that police should be looking to crack down on.

Pompey Cyclist suggested: "Now do cars. Because, you know, they actually cause danger and that wouldn’t be a total waste of our money."

Another added: "I wonder why you don’t do this with drivers? After all everybody should be held to account." While someone else asked why there were no pictures of an operation cracking down on red light jumping drivers at the same junction?

Stephen Hines replied: "Did you take the opportunity to stop any drivers at the same time? Enforcement is great, but it would be nice to see all road users held to the same standard, and it might be nice for the cyclists to know how many other offences were dealt with in the same operation."

However, not everyone questioned the police action. Many comments thanked the force for its work.

One cyclist said: "Thank you for this, I'm truly fed up with getting abuse from drivers for [those] that don't stop at lights. Now, about those drivers. Mostly the abuse is because I've asked them to put their phones down or not pass so closely... You're going to be targeting them next right?"

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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137 comments

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Adam Sutton replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
0 likes
mdavidford wrote:

Seems perhaps you're reading comments that aren't there.

Well yes, I mean given we have now reached the realms of troll accusation because I don't toe the narrative, I am being completely unreasonable in making that point.

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mdavidford replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
4 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:
mdavidford wrote:

Seems perhaps you're reading comments that aren't there.

Well yes, I mean given we have now reached the realms of troll accusation because I don't toe the narrative, I am being completely unreasonable in making that point.

That (which was only one person) happened well after you'd started accusing everyone of hyperbole, strawman burning (strawmen are for hitting, btw, not burning), and being a clique, and claiming you'd have to go in to hiding.

So, what, you have future sight, and decided to get your retaliation in first?

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Adam Sutton replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
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No "future sight needed" My initial comment is 100% true. The police were doing their job, the cyclists were breaking the law and Joe public don't get to dictate how the police use their resources.

What followed and lead up to being accused of being a troll, from the very first response was nothing more than whataboutery and strawman arguements, some of which was quite bizarre. I think the best was being told to "get a grip" after presenting a screenshot that they had a close pass. So what? We know that happens, it has nothing to do with cyclists jumping lights though. Or maybe it was the accusation that I was condoning bad driving. Some epic reaching happening there. I make no apology for responding as I did.

The funny thing is this mirrors how drivers act when confronted with their behaviour. Don't address that just straw man it out.

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mdavidford replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
3 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

What followed and lead up to being accused of being a troll, from the very first response was nothing more than whataboutery and strawman arguements, some of which was quite bizarre.

This is just untrue. There were plenty of moderate, reasoned responses that tried to engage in a genuine discussion with you, with only one or two that had a slightly more imtemperate tone.

The rest of your post just seems like post hoc rationalisation for your hyperbolic attempt to dismiss everyone that disagreed with you as some kind of torch-wielding mob.

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TriTaxMan replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
3 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

Not been saying you are responsible for the action of other cyclists, but you seem to want to treat motorists as a collective while cyclists as individuals, in some ways above the law.

also you 

Adam Sutton wrote:

That hardly sets an example and is liable to just reafirm the drivers belief cyclists ARE a menace that think they are above the law. Next cyclist the driver sees, they think why should I give them room, cyclists don't care about the rules why should I? Two wrongs don't make a right, but be the better person/road user, set an example.

Funny, reading your older quote (2nd one above) it seems to say that you think we have to set an example becuase what I do reflects on how drivers treat other cyclists

Adam Sutton wrote:

As a motorist I have an endorsable and revokable license, and will rack up points if I speed or jump lights. Technology has been invested in that catch motorists doing either and has been adapted to catch phone use. The law has also changed to make any phone use illegal. The idea that this is trivialised is bunkam.

Lets look at stats, estimates are that each year around 9 MILLION drivers will run a red light at least once..... and I think last stats I found shows around 97,000 motorists were prosecuted for red light jumping.... around 1%.  And that's because there are so few Red Light Cameras. 

As evidenced by wtjs' repeated rejections of evidence submitted to police forces of cars running red lights at 50+mph with NO positive action being taken the chances of getting caught RLJing for a car is pretty small unless you run a light with a red light camera.

As for speeding.... estimates are around 85% of cars speed in 20mph zones and over 50% speed in 30 zones (that equates to 30.5 MILLION and 18 MILLION respectively) so the chances of getting stopped is infinitessimally small or there would be a far higher proportion of drivers with points on their licence.

And why the reference to your endorsable revokable licence as a motorist?  The only reason people tend to even mention a licence.... is because they feel that cyclists are not held accountable because they don't have a licence (normally shortly followed by mention of a registration plate too) which means they can be banned from cycling.

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TriTaxMan replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
6 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

When you are sat on just one side it may well seem like the focus is one way, if all you're looking at is articles like this on cycling sites it's no surprise all you see is cyclists being stopped. A lot of police road units have social media presence and if you pay attention their focus is rightly on roads and drivers. 

Just focusing on that point there.... I assume you never read any of the comments by motorists on police social media posts about motorists who are caught by the police?

The comments are staggering

  • "why don't they do some real police work",
  • "it was only a lad having a bit of a laugh, cut him some slack",
  • "good drivers don't need launch control to get away fast"
  • "Actually some of the speed limits on our roads are ridiculous. You must be a headless sheep to follow them. Maybe it's a cash generator for the govt?"
  • In response to a speed camera van catching motorists 
    • "Yeah but smart motorways are rubbish. And cyclists should pay road tax."

I mean that last one..... A speed camera van catching multiple motorists.... one going at 67 in a 40 zone..... yet motorists somehow manage whataboutery on cyclists...

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Adam Sutton replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
0 likes
TriTaxMan wrote:

Just focusing on that point there.... I assume you never read any of the comments by motorists on police social media posts about motorists who are caught by the police?
 

Yes, I have. It goes to show the issue is people not the vehicle, it's as ludicrous as the responses here in regards cycling policing.

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
2 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

Yes, I have. It goes to show the issue is people not the vehicle, it's as ludicrous as the responses here in regards cycling policing.

I thought we were in agreement over some issues - why are you now categorising my responses as being ludicrous? I can understand disagreement of opinions, but you're implying that the responses are factually incorrect - if so, I'd be interested in learning the actual facts of the matter.

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Adam Sutton replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I thought we were in agreement over some issues - why are you now categorising my responses as being ludicrous? I can understand disagreement of opinions, but you're implying that the responses are factually incorrect - if so, I'd be interested in learning the actual facts of the matter.

I believe we had found some semblance of common ground on infrastructure etc, but this has descended into something else now with a heavy dose of whataboutery to claim police should ignore cyclists. If anything it has reminded my why I prefer cycling alone and avoid other "cyclists" 

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hawkinspeter replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
2 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

I believe we had found some semblance of common ground on infrastructure etc, but this has descended into something else now with a heavy dose of whataboutery to claim police should ignore cyclists. If anything it has reminded my why I prefer cycling alone and avoid other "cyclists" 

Huh? I don't believe I made any such claim - can you elucidate?

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
5 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

If anything it has reminded my why I prefer cycling alone and avoid other "cyclists" 

On behalf of "other cyclists", thanks.

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

On behalf of "other cyclists", thanks.

Such a charmer, but I would still offer a spare tube if you needed it and I passed you.

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Rendel Harris replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
4 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

Such a charmer, but I would still offer a spare tube if you needed it and I passed you.

You've joined this site and immediately gone out of your way, at tedious length, to be antagonistic, patronising and just plain rude to virtually everybody just because they don't agree with your opinions. You're on a cycling website and outright say you don't like "other cyclists." Now you're whining because "other cyclists" don't like your attitude and opinions. Got to question why you're bothering. You're quite the charmer yourself.

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Adam Sutton replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

I think I missed some, point them out and I will tell them where to park their bike. 

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alansmurphy replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
4 likes
Adam Sutton wrote:

 

I believe we had found some semblance of common ground on infrastructure etc, but this has descended into something else now with a heavy dose of whataboutery to claim police should ignore cyclists. If anything it has reminded my why I prefer cycling alone and avoid other "cyclists" 

 

But to every one else you are an 'other cyclist' and by your logic you are now giving all of us a bad reputation as you fail to understand any concept of the vulnerable road user.

It's been a good try to masquerade as a 'cyclist' but I'm sorry you're hitting too many troll triggers:

 

Equal responsibility

Number Plates

Licensing

Reputation

Excusing dangerous violence

 

You're just 'helmets' and 'road tax' away from a full house...

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Adam Sutton replied to alansmurphy | 2 years ago
0 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

But to every one else you are an 'other cyclist' and by your logic you are now giving all of us a bad reputation as you fail to understand any concept of the vulnerable road user.

LMFAO! yeah OK, that is some epic nonsense there. I don't even know what to say it is so illogical.

It's been a good try to masquerade as a 'cyclist' but I'm sorry you're hitting too many troll triggers:

An expected response it seems here, anyone who doesn't agree 100% and toe the narrative, has to be a troll. I have had a driving license for 25 years and started cycling again around 3 years ago, initially becuase it made sense to get to the train station for my commute, and then increasingly so as I - a) enjoy it b) it makes sense for many local journeys. I did London to Brighton in 2019 raising money for Macmillan, and make an effort to try and effect positive change by engaging with local authority wherever possible. I live in hope their consultations may amount to something but find it doubtful.

Equal responsibility - Another strawman. Never said anything about equal responsibility only that the law applies to cyclists as well, and that the police as upholders of the law will prosecute cyclists either on the fly or with "crackdowns" like this. I have questioned the notion that this is dispraportionate to tackling motiorists and again suggest checking out any police road units social media to see what they are doing day in, day out. 

Number Plates - Guess what another strawman. I actually don't think I even mentioned number plates.

Licensing - Holy crap we have a tripple whammy, another strawman. I only mentioned licensing in response to the idea "motorists" are not accountable. Assuming you are making up the idea I think cyclists should be licensed, it isn't something I agree is necessary. I possibly somewhere mentioned that if anything these "crackdowns" actually prove licensing isn't necessary to hold law breaking cyclists to account thereofore refuting that anti-cycling trope,

Reputation - Eh? 

Excusing dangerous violence - Keep reaching!!!

"You're just 'helmets' and 'road tax' away from a full house..." 

 

 

 

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cosimo193 replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

This difference in behaviour is showing that some traffic light controlled junctions are designed for motor traffic and no consideration is given to the different size, speed and needs of cyclists. There is also the possibility of amending traffic laws to accomodate some of these different requirements, such as the Idaho Stop and Dead Red laws in parts of the U.S. and there's also the Parisienne de-criminalisation of cycling through red lights.

Many traffic light controlled junctions don't work for cyclists, especially in relatively low traffic areas/times. For example, near where I live, there are two crossroads(es?!) where the traffic lights sense traffic and change if nothing is coming the other way, to maintain flow. They don't work for bikes, especially carbon framed ones. I've been stuck at them numerous times on red when there's been nothing else around, and it can take ages for a car to come and be sensed by them. There's no way I can hang around indefinitely so I really have no option other than to go through, carefully, when they're on red. This, of course, is a very different situation to the ones described where they're just being ignored.

I actually would agree with changes that would allow vehicles to cross through red lights when they're turning left. I understood that was the Parisienne change; cycles could turn right on red, but not ignore them otherwise, however I may have missed what was actually brought in as I don't cycle in Paris! Having driven on some US roads where all vehicles can turn right on reds in certain circumstances, this seems eminently sensible to me.

However, in terms of the police crackdown described in this article, I think it's sensible. There is a lot of antagonism between drivers and cyclists that really needs to stop for the roads to be safer for all of us. If cyclists continue to cross through red lights willy-nilly, drivers are always going to have a go at them because of it. If cyclists stopped doing that, it would be one less excuse for drivers to moan then, perhaps one day, we could live in harmony and safety with each other rather than put up with all the rubbish that goes on now (a lot of which is promulgated as much by pro-cycling sites, like this one, as pro-driving sites).

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hawkinspeter replied to cosimo193 | 2 years ago
1 like

Here's the first thing I found on Paris cycle-red-light laws:

https://www.eta.co.uk/2015/07/13/cyclists-can-run-red-lights-in-paris/

What I've come to realise is that so many road junctions in the UK are designed primarily for motor vehicles. If we're lucky we get an ASL and if we're really lucky, that ASL won't be blocked by some motorist (it's a minority, but still very frequent). The thing is that RLJing is safe for cyclists in certain circumstances (see the Paris law for examples) and most cyclists will understand that, but the problem is that non-cycling drivers most likely won't understand and just see it as selfish law breaking (which to be fair it is).

The ideal solution is for junctions to be redesigned for smaller traffic (cyclists, e-scooters) so that we don't have to be subjected to the stop-starting that can be really off-putting for people who don't want to practise sprinting from a standing start or track-standing (I'm a bit rubbish at that and will unclip after a couple of seconds attempt).

I really don't get on with the "one less excuse for drivers to moan" as they moan about non-existent laws as well, so why even bother to appease them? I put my own safety ahead of any laws and so I will continue trying to anticipate light changes and go through junctions whilst the light is still red, but just on the point of changing - it prevents left hooks and puts me in clear view of the motorists. If i were to get caught doing so, then I would accept the consequences, but it hasn't been picked up by police when I've submitted videos so far - maybe my timing is too sharp for them or could be they consider it to be safe enough (they've mentioned or questioned a couple of my maneouvres).

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jrscott replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

That's the biggest excuse I've ever seen in my life.

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hawkinspeter replied to jrscott | 2 years ago
1 like
jrscott wrote:

That's the biggest excuse I've ever seen in my life.

Excuse or not, why do you think that some cyclists RLJ?

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Holts | 2 years ago
0 likes

Not before time , still waiting for the day it becomes obligatory to always have to use a cycle lane when available.

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JustTryingToGet... replied to Holts | 2 years ago
4 likes
Holts wrote:

Not before time , still waiting for the day it becomes obligatory to always have to use a cycle lane when available.

I'm all for red light jumpers being fined. Whatever mode of transport, it's generally a purely voluntary tax.

But what gives with the cycle lines? Are they especially splendid where you are meaning that going on the road is an illogical decision?

I can't see a rule coming into play to use cycle paths when using the road can be the safer option

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wycombewheeler replied to Holts | 2 years ago
5 likes
Holts wrote:

Not before time , still waiting for the day it becomes obligatory to always have to use a cycle lane when available.

no matter how dangerous?

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Hirsute replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
2 likes

And as luck would have it, a whole new article !

https://road.cc/content/news/cycling-live-blog-10-february-2022-290211

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Hirsute replied to Holts | 2 years ago
5 likes

I feel the same about bypasses and motorways.

Of course you will need active policing of the lanes to remove vehicles illegally parked by feckless owners.

//i2-prod.bristolpost.co.uk/incoming/article1501054.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/April-17-shit-cycling-infra.png)

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Rendel Harris replied to Holts | 2 years ago
8 likes
Holts wrote:

Not before time , still waiting for the day it becomes obligatory to always have to use a cycle lane when available.

This site really has become a target for new poster trolls in the last week or so, hasn't it? Is it their pathetic way at hitting back against the terrible "try not to run other people over" regulations in the Highway Code?

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brooksby replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
3 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Holts wrote:

Not before time , still waiting for the day it becomes obligatory to always have to use a cycle lane when available.

This site really has become a target for new poster trolls in the last week or so, hasn't it? Is it their pathetic way at hitting back against the terrible "try not to run other people over" regulations in the Highway Code?

Agree, but I'm far more concerned about how quickly the trans issue threads take off.

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Captain Badger replied to Holts | 2 years ago
6 likes
Holts wrote:

Not before time , still waiting for the day it becomes obligatory to always have to use a cycle lane when available.

Good luck, but don't hold your breath

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Simon E replied to Holts | 2 years ago
6 likes
Holts wrote:

still waiting for the day it becomes obligatory to always have to use a cycle lane when available.

Welcome aboard Troll, I am truly overjoyed to witness the erudition of your first two posts.

And when that day comes I will ensure I carry a hammer in my rucksack everywhere I ride. Each vehicle parked in a designated cycle lane will be blessed with hammer blows to the windows and maybe the panels if I can be bothered.

And I'll also consider buying a telehandler and offering my services to the council. I would use this video as guidance for how it should be done:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/feb/04/teesdale-farmer-cleared-...

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wycombewheeler replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
Holts wrote:

still waiting for the day it becomes obligatory to always have to use a cycle lane when available.

Welcome aboard Troll, I am truly overjoyed to witness the erudition of your first two posts.

And when that day comes I will ensure I carry a hammer in my rucksack everywhere I ride. Each vehicle parked in a designated cycle lane will be blessed with hammer blows to the windows and maybe the panels if I can be bothered.

And I'll also consider buying a telehandler and offering my services to the council. I would use this video as guidance for how it should be done:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/feb/04/teesdale-farmer-cleared-...

but if there were parked cars, it wouldn't be available

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