Endemic disregard of red lights on the CS3

This is something that has been perplexing me for a while. I cycle to and from work on the CS3 every day and on the section between Poplar and Tower Hill almost every cyclist ignores every single red light. I sometimes feel a complete numpty being the only one stopped at the lights while everyone else sails through.

Now I accept totally that having spent the last 7 years cycling in Munich probably does make me more prone to road discipline than most people. But how can it be safe for cyclists, often without lights or helmets, to cycle through red lights and in to the path of oncoming traffic at Dock Road for example?


I have just completed two theory parts to my motorcycle license and so I am fairly well briefed and re-aquainted with the Highway Code and the dos-and-don'ts for two wheeled safety in London. Like bellthecat I am absolutely bemused by the number of cyclists festooned in safety gear from helmet to ankle reflectors who regularly jump lights or ignore their own safety by jumping lights at busy junctions and narrowly avoid serious injury or worse.We cyclists come off badly against the motor vehicle in every form of crash and I really cannot understand why cyclists keep increasing the likely odds of a serious accident happening to them by ignoring the highway code when it is there, in the main, to keep you safe.

Totally agree with you guys, see this other thread where disucssion was taking place.


Odd, the time stamps on my replie is wrong, so it look slike i commented before veloWaterloo????

LCC, sort your forums!

  • By idkwia at 10:23pm 26 October 2011

I could not agree more with the comments thus far on this thread. It should be said that there are numerous places in London where cyclists ignore red traffic lights and let us be fair this is an outrage. How can cyclists expect to be safe as well as command the respect of other road users if they completely disrespect the rules of the road? It seems to me that the only way this can be stopped is to licence cyclists which of course would contravene one of the joys of cycling but they would only have themselves to blame.

What sort of example does this send out to young children cyclists?

I note that this website is campaigning agianst the "lethal lorry", maybe they should campaign against "lethal cyclists".

I wrote to the email address shown on this site on 18/10/11, raising the issue of cyclists ignoring red lights but as yet I haven't even had the courtesy of an acknowledgmement let alone a considered reply.

This post was edited by idkwia at 10:37pm 26 October 2011.

Red light jumping sends wrong signals all around.


(Idkwia - 18-10 11 the office was empty most of week because of campaigning priorities. If you are still unhappy, copy to me, perhaps? charles@lcc.org.uk - where I have some vouluntary involvement.)


I would take the comments as from idkwia and use them to promote that LCC revamp this forum. Inlcude more mods to monitor posts and change the format to a more friendly style (I think the old style forums are better).



I do not 'obey' red lights, I treat them as advice.

As an London commuter for 20 years, I think I know what's safest for me.

I will claim self-defence as my reason for crossing a junction as and when it is safe.

I don't fly through without care. I don't buzz in front of pedestrians.

I don't care what you think of me - I know the law and it is not appropriate in all circumstances.

I will continue to cross junctions at red lights with courtesy and caution - I don't want to be around when the truck turns left or the cars start barging each other.

I'm too fragile for that - I'd rather explain to a Copper than have a Copper explain to my family.


This post was edited by noredlightsimacyclist at 7:24pm 1 November 2011.

  • By idkwia at 12:27am 11 November 2011

David (noredlightsimacyclist), imagine what would happen if all road users took your attitude?

To put it mildy, you are a complete idiot and your attitude stinks and it is morons like you who not only put the safety of other road users at risk but you also give cyclists a bad name.

  • By quagmire at 10:14am 16 November 2011

>> David noredlightsimacyclist), imagine what would happen if all road users took your attitude? <<

They do - that's the point of this thread. Well I suspect a lot of them don't put as much thought in to it as David does but they clearly feel it's safe to cross and are simply sick of the incessant artificial delays that traffic lights in London appear to be programmed to force upon us. 

In a similar way that I won't treat a green light as perfectly safe to cross I won't treat a red light as completely unsafe to cross.  What is legal isn't always the safest - as the poor people at Bow have found out to their cost.

  • By paul at 9:59pm 19 November 2011

I saw another cyclist going through red on CS3 last week and thought "idiot". Then I waited for green,,,,and waited ......

After a few cycles of the lights when I was clear that the system had not detected me I too went through on red. (and sent a message to TFL)

  • By peter39 at 10:02am 20 November 2011
The LCC should not countenance members openly saying they break the law with regard to red lights. Using the safety argument is rubbish. You will always be safer obeying a red light than not. We're not talking about going a yard or two over the stop line to achieve better road position, we're talking about travelling across junctions against the flow of other traffic which has a green light. I challenge the LCC to insist all members obey red lights, and remove membership from those that advocate on this forum otherwise.

David, the point on the CS3 is that there are fr the most part separate light systems for cyclists (several operated by buttons that should be activated). Yet every morning ad every evening the majority of cyclists, yes the majority, do not bother stoppig at any of these junctions and often cars have to stop and wait for cyclists breaking the law. It is an absolute flipping disgrace and it amazes me that the police, who set up on dock street once every few months to register bikes, do not a thing about it.

I see people going through red lights on cable street at the junctions of cannon street road/ cable street and leman road / cable street. However there is a bizarre ltraffic light system at both. One is green for about 6 seconds and the other one you have to press the button. Go go straight on!
I don't usually go through a red light, but if it's green for pedestrians I count myself as also foot powered, so I will often go then, obviously steering clear of other foot powered individuals such as mothers with prams, roler bladers, and even the motorised people on disability scooters
  • By SimonS at 12:42am 27 September 2013
I appreciate that these discussions are well meant and most who engage have an earnest desire to keep people safe, but am I the only one who finds them somewhat fruitless? The same debates on red lights / obeying the Highway Code seem to occur so often and us LCC members can spend too much time on these forums tearing strips out of each other and perhaps not enough on exchanging info, empathising with others and giving useful advice. The most reckless cyclists are almost never going to engage in forums like this, so making comments aimed at them here seems misplaced to me, Those who do comment in these posts either fall into the 'I don't ever do it and neither should anyone else' or 'I do it when I think it is safe(r) to do so' camps and I have never seen anyone ever say that they have changed their mind from these sorts of discussions. We seem to create a lot of unnecessary division and bitterness from these 'debates' that, frankly, don't seem to have any effect, other than to entrench people's existing views. Just a thought...
  • By Beattiel at 9:14am 27 September 2013

I am a cyclist who always stops at red lights.  It doesn't matter whether they are pedestrian crossings with no one crossing, or empty junctions, or that you'd rather start before the traffic behind you.  Red means stop.  It is mandatory, not advisory.  When cyclists disobey the laws, we seriously annoy other road users.  As well as persuading TfL and local councils to put in proper cycling infrastructure, to make cycling safe, we need to put our own house in order by criticising, not excusing, cyclists who break the laws. 


In my view the disagraceful prevalence of illegal and/or discourteous cycling in London is the single biggest factor hindering us from winning the the public over in favour of a wholesale transformation in London's streets to make cycling safe for all.

I too am one who always stops at red lights.

As an aside does anyone know the legality of running the lights on CS3 or any other toucan or cycle lights. Obviously it is illegal to run red lights on the roads, but when they are as part of cycle or pedestrian crossings is it still illegal to run a red light. After all pedestrians can cross whenever they like in this country.

One reply suggests expelling those who advocate red light running.  Such people may openly state that they break the law - but banning them will mean that those who try to follow the rules never have a chance to dissuade them from doing it (and they will carry on regardless). Nor do we find out why they actually do so.  In some cases, they may have a point that should be considered and in others, we may learn how to take steps to prevent or inhibit their course of action.  If red light runners are banned from speaking, why not for other rules and where then would it all stop?  Censorship in principle is not a good idea (obviously there can be no such thing as 'free speech' which itself inhibits free expression - such as sexism, racism, threats of violence etc., never mind the legality).


Raymondox, the rule is simple - if the red light is directed at you and/or the direction which you intend to take (such as with filters) - you must stop whether you are a motorist, pedestrian or cyclist.   That includes cyclists on the carriageway who approach a Toucan - even if other cyclists are crossing there just as it applies to motorists who stop at a junction - even though other motorists are crossing in front.    It is true, that there are many pedestrians who cross whenever they like and jaywalk, just as there are cyclists who ride whenever and wherever they like and motorists who drive and park as if the footways or cycle lanes were hard shoulders - but they are all wrong and law breakers.  The rules are there for all our benefit - not us for the rules and if such rules are wrong in detail - there are proper channels through which we must act to do so.

It is NOT against the law to cross a road where there is no light-controlled crossing point. Pedestrians are entitled to cross wherever they like, and are free to walk in the road if they want.


Having looked at the HC (rules 80 and 81) it appears that you can cross on a toucan crossing even when the light is red, but if it's a cycle-only crossing you MUST obey the lights.

There's nothing like causing confusion, division and anger to make the roads a safe place to be...

  • By Kepi192 at 11:56pm 24 October 2013

Completely agree with Idkwia, LCC needs to ease up on HGV driver bashing and put more effort into educating many of the numpties that populate this city on two wheels. If you choose to ride up the inside of a HGV don't blame the driver for not seeing you after you chose to enter his blind spot. As for the clowns who constantly ignore red lights, what will be the stance of LCC when one of them causes a fatality (i.e. a driver swerves to avoid the light jumping cyclist and kills a pedestrian - no doubt LCC will start a campaigne against drivers who obey the lights! Everyday on my bike I'm terrified, not of myself getting hurt, but of haviing to witness someone from one of these two sets of idiots die.

Absolutely, totally agree and endorse the comments of Beattiel. These people who seem to think the rules of the road are optional are the people who are going to get me killed. Some driver angered and annoyed with one of these morons, will five minutes later, still fuming at such a transgresion will end up hitting me because his full attention is not on the road.

This gungho "we have a right to road space" attitude is the reason progress on cycle safety is so slow. No matter how many deaths there are or how loud campaigners shout we will not be taken seriously by drivers while all around them they have cyclists jumping red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, and undertaking large vehicles. We need to get our own house in order if we want to be listened to.

"We need to get our own house in order if we want to be listened to."

Why are you jumping these lights on a bike then? While we're at it, why are you overtaking cyclists too closely in a car? Why are you not checking the blind sports in your tipper truck when turning? All of these things are YOUR fault Kepi, so you personally need to stop doing it before I give you any respect on the road.


Obviously what I've written above is entirely unreasonable, so why do some people think that just because I'm using the same mode of transport as another person we're part of a connected group with some sort of influence on each other? Blaming "cyclists" for some people's behaviour (whatever that is) is pointless and damaging.

How long do the type of people who blame user behaviour think this behaviour needs to be 'right' for before any progress should be made? A day? A week? For ever?

If the infrastructure is right then transgressions (and the perceived need to transgress for safety reasons) reduce.



Not all red light jumps are equal and frankly the self righteousness from some of the posters above is staggering.

Yes, there is some shocking and selfish behaviour from people on all transport modes, but a significant proportion of people on bikes running reds in London are doing so as a result of a failure planners to design safe roads for cyclists.  People regularly run the red light at Mornington Crescent because the road design puts them in danger at the next set of lights if they obey the red (and we saw the results of that this week: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/woman-cyclist-suffers-life-changing-injuries-after-crash-with-tipper-truck-in-camden-8895992.html )

If anything, the issue of red light jumping just strenghtens the case for the #space4cycling campaign

  • By badgery at 11:17pm 25 October 2013

the rule is simple - if the red light is directed at you and/or the direction which you intend to take (such as with filters) - you must stop whether you are a motorist, pedestrian or cyclist. 

I have no idea why people post as fact when they don't know the facts, so to make it clear- this is what I _believe_ to be the law:

The offence is contravening a mandatory traffic direction, so

1. you must be traffic (a bike is, a pedestrian not - a bike that's being wheeled- ? - guess not?)

2. the direction must be mandatory (if it shows red and you are traffic, that's mandatory. Don't know how pelicans would fly, tho...)

3. this is the same offence as driving an HGV over a 1.5ton bridge, up a no entry, etc., though I presume whoever's enforcing it would have a degree of discretion in how they deal with it..


So, the answer is... Yes, it's illegal and you can be fined for crossing a red toucan.

Next question... do you care?

This content was deleted by tomolondon at 2:20pm 16 January 2014.


The Cycle-only crossings on the CS3 are not designed to help cyclists cross safely. Like most of the cycle super highway scheme, its designed to give only the slightest nod toward the needs of cyclists an even then only if it doesn’t inconvenience motorised traffic. It is for this reason the light remains red for an age and only green long enough to let a couple of bikes through. I don’t see why they cannot be toucan crossing that (contrary the suggestions of some other posts here), are only advisory and can be passed on red if it’s safe to do so.

Is there an official light timing, red vs green, or can TFL use _any_ timing they wish, no matter how unreasonable? Be good to have an _independent_ traffic experts opinion, or even a rough idea from cyclists who have also timed lights abroad, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, etc. And compare them with TFL's, as I beleive that in some more enlightened cities, if you cycle at the correct speed, you get green lights _all_ the way. Which would go a long way to _preventing_ the rlj'ing yes?. ;)

Yes, it's called a "Green Wave". See copenhagenize.com for more details. Don't worry the site is in english.

Personally, I always stop. Look at any anti-cycle ranting forum and you will see that most comments make a reference to running through red lights.

  • By Dagda at 10:04am 16 January 2014

It must be causing complete and utter carnage. How many people have been killed or seirously injured by the RLJ'ers? Or are they bringing traffic to a standstill? Or is it just annoying a few people who don't really care about cyclists anyway?

Like the sound of that Copenhagenize.com "Green Wave" Levermonkey, bit more useful than a 'Mexican Wave'!

Also saw the "Desire Line analysis tool, good in studying the behaviour and trajectories of bicycle users crossing a major intersection and _redesigning it to suit the users_" what a novel concept ;)


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