Don't Jump Red Lights

This is often dangerous but even if you do it in a manner that you think is safe you erode respect for yourself as a road vehicle and antagonize pedestrians and motorists. There is nothing more annoying or dangerous than the motorist who thinks he can disregard the highway code to suit his convenience, that the code is for other people. Do as you would be done by. Drivers who bend the rules of the Highway code to suit themselves put cyclists at risk. (Creeping out at junctions, not signalling, changing lanes suddenly, jumping lights, doing banned turns, overstopping junctions without looking) How can you criticize them if you are not prepared apply the same standards to yourself? 

Nothing inflames motorists more than seeing cyclists jump red lights. The result is endless anti-cyclist propaganda in the press and increasingly aggressive behaviour directed at cyclists by motorists. If you want the privilege of using the road, show your willingness to cooperate with others and obey the rules. Here is a quote from a cyclist and cycling campaigner from a list discussing the issue :

"Far too many London cyclists DO ignore traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and pedestrian safety when they crash up on to and weave very quickly about on the pavement. 

Anyone who cycles around London will have had their life endangered by other cyclists who can't be bothered to slow down, let alone stop and take a sensible decision at a traffic light. 

If we ignore this then we will lose out. We need to take the initiative on how to improve cycling standards ? otherwise we will always be reacting to the initiative of others. 

A couple of weeks ago I caught a bus home from Euston. As the lights turned green for the bus to leave the bus area in front of the station (to turn left in Eversholt St) a teenage cyclist heading north on Eversholt Rd jumped the red light - whilst looking behind him! The bus drive slammed on the brakes and we were all jolted forward. The kid carried on as if nothing untoward had happened. 

Leaving aside the issues of how we have got to the position where a significant proportion of cyclists think this is how to cycle, what interested me was the anger of two postmen on the bus who went on and on about cyclists jumping the lights. One of them said that he was always tempted to drive after such cyclists and knock them over. His mate pointed out, not that that would be a 'bad' thing to do, but that that would involve him also jumping the lights. Then they carried on for a few more minutes expressing undiluted anger against cyclists. Interestingly, no one, including these chaps so concerned about cyclist light jumping, made any comments about the THREE times the bus driver jumped red lights. That's normal." 

If you have to jump lights please remember pedestrians may be crossing and slow down to walking pace.

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Content last modified: 24 Jul 2012

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