Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Red Light Jumping

I sometimes get fed up of non-cyclists berating me personally for all the naughty, silly things some cyclists do. Quite sure I'm not the only one. Now, I don't pretend to be perfect but my pet hate is the suggestion that all cyclists jump red lights as a matter of habit - RLJing - while of course drivers are just saints!

The argument for RLJing by some cyclists runs: "...it's safer to get in front of traffic", "...the roads are badly designed", etc. I can understand these points but not really support them. In my opinion it gives ammunition to a section of cyclist haters and does cyclists as a group no favours at all. However, I also realise these cyclists are not in the same league as drivers who run red lights. If they hit someone they will likely cause some injury and maybe even death to someone else and not themselves. Cyclists are mainly likely to injure themselves. No excuse but certainly less of a menace.

So, today I put my road safety hat on and set out to show how easy it is for drivers to RLJ and get away with it. The photos were shot within five minutes of leaving my door. Many others went through on 'deep amber'. 

Imagined conversation

Irate driver: "Bloody cyclists!! Always jumping red lights." 

Me: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Now excuse me while I just filter ahead of you to the front of the traffic jam. Goodbye."


  1. It seems that many cyclists have decided that red light jumping, although illegal, is perfectly OK.

    This exactly mirrors the average motorists approach to other laws, such as the ones on speeding and parking.

    If motorists can ignore a law and consider it persecution on the rare occasions when they are punished, then why do they get so annoyed when they see cyclists do exactly the same thing?

    1. Because they* sit in cars that cost them a tidy sum, often snarled up in traffic, watching cyclists going past them on the road paid for by 'Road Tax'; cyclists who don't even use the cycle lane kindly and at minimal expense and thought provided for them; or they are sometimes prevented from reaching the next junction/queue/set of traffic lights a few seconds earlier by a cyclist(s) riding in the middle of the lane!.

      I mean they have a point. They are hard done to aren't they and so need some other group to blame for their woes.

      *Of course not all drivers are like that. Some are cyclists as well and so are exempt from this blanket and otherwise sweeping generalisation of driver behaviour.

  2. When people find out I'm a cyclist they sometimes ask me if I'm one of those who jumps red lights.

    Sometimes, for fun, I tell them that I am, and that I only started doing it because I saw so many motorists breaking the law unpunished every single day that I thought I might as well join in with a bit of unpunished law breaking of my own in order to make my life on the road more selfishly amenable.

    And sometimes the bait is taken and I get to hear ludicrous reasons why cyclists should always stick rigidly to the letter of the law while motorists often have good reason for breaking them with full justification on moral and even safety grounds.

    1. That approach sounds like fun. I think I will have to try it. Thanks.