All Cyclists Must Stop At Red Lights

I realise that this is a common topic and I have not contributed to this site before, generally not wanting to vent my occasionally ill-thought-through spleen on the general public.  However, having been knocked off my bike by a red light jumper on a toucan crossing on Creek Road on Thursday night, I feel as though I have some justified reason to.  Whilst crossing when the green man/cycle symbol was showing, I did NOT expect to get knocked off my bike by a fellow cyclist going at full pelt over a red light, whilst all of the other vehicles on this busy four-lane road were waiting for the lights to change.  The cyclist in question, being on the outside of the outside lane, would not have been able to see if there were any cyclists or pedestrians crossing at this crossing.  Before other cyclists get similarly frying-pan-sized beetroot-coloured bruises and lumps on their bodies, I would urge any selfish and reckless cyclists who jump red lights (as a matter of course or intermittently) to think about the consequences of your actions.  And if whoever it was who hit me would like to contribute to my rail fare for the next three weeks (the length of time my doctor advised me not to cycle in order to recover from my injuries) and a new back wheel, that would be most welcome.


  • By peter39 at 4:45pm 22 November 2011
I suggest you ask the LCC to back you to sue the cyclist concerned. As i already posted in this forum under the CS3 discussion i believe the LCC needs to stop fudging and firmly declare zero tolerance on red light jumpers. If the LCC won't support you it will indicate their stance on the subject. Over to you LCC...

This post was edited by peter39 at 5:09pm 22 November 2011.

The problem is, careful red light jumping is sometimes safer:

So zero tolerance isn't the answer.

What is important is that all cyclists see a red light as an instruction to give way to pedestrians as well as other traffic.

It would be great to see LCC start a 'respect pedestrians' campaign. 

  • By peter39 at 11:29am 23 November 2011
Come and stand outside Kennington tube in the morning rush hour and watch cyclists on the superhighway 'give way' to pedestrians crossing on the green man phase whilst the traffic lights are at red. Giving way is not defined as passing 3 inches in front or behind of a pedestrian whilst cycling at speed.
  • By Stily1 at 1:54pm 23 November 2011

I'm afraid I'm in the zero tolerance camp. If you feel unsafe, there are other solutions, no doubt, so 'it's safer' doesn't hold water. As is demonstrated every day, any tolerance will be abused, and therefor by definition actively ENCOURAGES scofflawism and degrades the fabric of our society.


Just like an alcoholic parent who is incapable of providing fair and consistent boundaries to a child, I believe it is the height of irresponsibility for a municipality to enact a rule or erect a sign and then ignore it. This only means the law abiding among us will leave open the space for the selfish and arrogant to take that space, effectively ENCOURAGING them. Either remove all the rules and signs and let people figure it out, or actively enforce the ones you have and force people to take responsibility for their actions. This half-a**ed approach is not working.


What other solutions? It's an either/or situation. You jump the light, or you don't. And it's just safer to move ahead of the other traffic on the junction a few seconds before the light goes green, if there's nothing coming the other way, and no pedestrians...

The point is, the rules and signs and road designs need to work for all parties. Right now, they work OK for pedestrians and people in cars, but not for people on bikes. When roads are designed so that  it's clear that cyclists are safest following the rules, then there's no doubt most people will be much more law-abiding - and enforcement will be much easier. Easy. 


Zero tolerance enforcement merely removes good judgement. There are times when jumping a red light is the safest course of action (and the quickest) and times when it is downright dangerous. A set of temporary road-work lights stuck on red at 3.30am and not a soul in sight provides an example of the former and any busy junction in the rush-rour an example of the later.

If you mean - zero tolerance except when...   thats clearly cobblers isn't it!

Motorists ignore the ASZ with the same consistancy as cyclists jump the lights. Lets go round in ever decreasing circles eh ...

There is NO over-arching solution to accomodate everyone all the time and in all circumstances. The ONLY zero tolerance offence is lack of respect and sound judgement and god help us if this ever becomes a legally enforcable offense!

To quote a well worn saying: You can please all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time. Please stop trying - it's devisive.

Use the road network we have with care and consideration irrespective of your form of transport. Try to improve it where possible. Reduce known risks where you can. Don't ever expect it to be perfect - it ain't ever gonna happen. Even the Dutch have accidents.

My sympathy and condolences to Catherine for what that is worth. The cyclist who hit you is clearly reckless and you ought to be able to challenge his actions. By what process you go about doing that is of course another story. Any cyclists out there in favour of identification plates to facilitate a solution to Catherine's problem?

This post was edited by Whiskey Mick at 6:14am 24 November 2011.

As an aside, and at the risk of starting a cyclo-sexist ding-dong, my last comment in the post above refered to the cyclist who hit Catherine as male. This was an assumption based on my daily observation of the behaviour of cyclists in general on my commuting ride but may well be an entirely erronous assumption!

  • By Stily1 at 6:36am 24 November 2011

Saw a fantastic example of instant karma last night riding home. At the Millbank/Vauxhall Bridge intersection (SE-bound), in the dark, ~6:30, red light, about 8 cyclists stopped, youngish male rider aparrently decided, hey, it's clear, I'll just toodle along here because this is what we do in London, when, at a good clip comes a car, fully within its ROW, turning right. Cyclist panicks, hits breaks and half falls off his bike. The ONLY reason he wasn't absolutely smeared across the roadway is that the car saw him and came to a complete stop, at serious risk of causing a huge accident. BRILLIANT.

@ Baron, WTF? Either/or? That's very self-serving. Do you feel unsafe waiting for a red light? Get off your cycle and move to the footpath! Hello? That is absolutely no excuse, and by your logic, scooters and motorcycles should also be allowed to scoot on ahead "when it's safe". Bollocks! And pedestrians should be able to cross "when it's safe" (granted, they already do this). If everyone took your attitude, there would be chaos in the streets (well, more chaos). 

Are you so important that you can't wait a few seconds for the light to cycle? I vote no.

@ Whiskey Mick, quoting extreme examples in a discussion of middling circumstances is pointless. There is good judjement, and then there is selfish justification. Realistically, nobody is going to care (or notice) if you ride through a stuck light in the country at midnight. Absolutely irrelevant "example" when discussing London commuting.

Crossing against the light gives cyclists a bad name with other road users.


@ Stily, quoting extreme examples in the light of ZERO tolerance is EXACTLY the point!! Zero tolerance by definition encompasses the extreme which it why it is so in-effective no?

Zero tolerance is the antipathy of mitigating circumstance. Almost always rash!

This post was edited by Whiskey Mick at 6:54am 24 November 2011.

@ Stily - Talk about more effective enforcement by all means but zero tolerance is an oft mis-used phrase and it's meaning is clear, or should be. It means that there are NO circumstances where an offence is justifyable in law (including getting out of the way of emergency vehicles and many other examples I can think of) and is a very simplistic approach doomed to failure.

Less simples is often better!

  • By Stily1 at 9:48pm 24 November 2011

Okay, okay, yes, "zero tolerance" is over-simple, and simple solutions almost never are (solutions). I still say there's more scofflawism going on in London by those of us peddlers than I'm comfortable with, and a more appropriate balance would be better.

It would also be nice if vehicles respected the bicycle boxes more, and pedestrians also minded their manners a bit better, and and and.

But, it's a fantastic city with lots to offer. And count your blessings you aren't dealing with American drivers!!!! We'd all be dead in short order!

LCC's view is that cyclists should follow the Highway Code. We can't deal with the enforcement side of things - that's up to the Police.

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