Red light means stop to all road users!

Can anyone answer why so many cyclists still seem unwilling to stop at red traffic lights?

As a cyclist and motorist in London i see it almost every day. And it’s not one type of cyclist, it's a variety.

Apart from giving ammunition to the motorist who dislike or are unsupportive of cyclists, it’s bloody dangerous!

Just my thought of the week.......





  • By paul at 8:48pm 21 August 2011

As a cyclist and motorist you have surely noticed the difference in visibility of surroundings. You don't need lights where two pedestrian flows cross and the same applies for cyclists. Heavy, fast, half-blind cars need controlling.

Having said all of which I personally always stop at red but a lot of the time that I see cyclists crossing they are actually causing danger to nobody. (eg pedestrian phase when all the pedestrians have long since crossed).

I saw a cyclist go through a red light yesterday at break neck speed.  Everyone in the car was incredulous.  It’s dangerous to do this at any junction and as a pedestrian/cyclist/motorist I think it gives cyclists a really bad name.  How can we ask for equal rights on the road and then pick and choose when to follow the highway code? We can’t have our cake and eat it.

@Fear4theears - I think thats the crux of the problem. The highway code applies to all and it not down to us to pick and choose.

@paul - Although there are lots of times where there is no danger caused, if a pedestrian sees a green crossing light and runs and gets hit by the bike, thats the danger. If we want exceptions for cyclists it should go though the proper channels so that all road users (including pedestrians) are made aware.

@BoforsGun, couldn't agree more. If there is a green light, it is reasonable to expect that ALL road users are going to stop, noone will be expecting a cyclist to come out of nowhere.  It's even more dangerous if you are visually impaired or have mobility problems.

its a pity then that the ASL reguations ( same offence as jumping red light) do no seem to apply to motorists!

  • By paul at 4:50pm 11 September 2011


If we want exceptions for cyclists it should go though the proper channels so that all road users (including pedestrians) are made aware.

Proper channels - absolultely - and the exemption would have to be subject to Strict Liablity so other road users ( especially pedestrians ) would not need to change their behaviour in any way.

Having said all which not a battle that is in any way a priority.

Putting cyclists in the same basket as cars and lorries is downright ridiculous. Cyclists are much more similar to pedestrians.

We need flashing orange cycling lights at intersections and crossings where cyclists can cross but be prepared to stop.

Under the current arrangement, too many cyclists take daft risks, flying through all red lights regardless of the risk at that particular intersection.

Traffic signals have been designed to maintain optimum vehicle traffic flows not cyclists. It's time they were changed to reflect the growing mass of cyclists and to encourage motorists and the fearful to take the plunge.


  • By DAR at 9:42pm 23 September 2011

The Issue of stopping at red traffic lights, Over the past 4 decades I have seen alot and alot of different patterns in the discpline of those road users. For example in the last decade I have never seen so many buses drive through red lights! Even those lights with cameras? There are particular traffic light junctions that are deemed too dangerous for both cyclists (sometimes it is too much for newer cyclist) and motor vehicles combined to be stationery side by side and then expect the 2 wheeler to move off whilst those in motor driven simply increase weight on their gas pedal. Of course there are those that will jump lights without care or thought. What should be remembered is that the inner city roads and the rural roads were never designed to cater for cyclist, or for any volume of them, so the lights are for all modes of transport even though in some cases the cyclist is penalised for being just that. There are numerous traffic light jnctions where the waiting times are so overally unrealistic and their timing and frequency only incense all users. The technical team at the local authority clearly haven't thought about the cyclist in their calculations. So you will see cyclists go through. The pedestrians are also a big danger to cyclist and other road users as some will take the chance of making it (hopefully) within a split second of causing an accident.

I'm not sure you can call pedestrians a big danger. Any idividual can be a pratt and run out at light, roads, cycle lanes etc but as general group not as dangerous as cars or cyclists going through red lights.

Think City of London police were carrying out an operation on cyclists jumping red lights this morning. Saw 3 cyclists stopped by the side of the road with police bikes/cars being written tickets by the coppers. Can't wait to see the ASL clampdown they'll carry out tomorrow against motorists, oh hang on - maybe not!

  • By idkwia at 10:31pm 26 October 2011

There are numerous places in London where a high percentage of cyclists completely ignore red traffic lights. It is fair to say the occasional motorist will run a red light but as I said there are lots of cyclists who do it very regularly and well after the light has turned red. How can we cyclists expect to be safe as well as command the respect of other road users if many of us 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.

To the people on this thread who are talking about pedestrians, let us not forget that pedestrians have been killed by cyclists. There have to be rules of the road otherwise it would be mayhem and so dangerous us cyclists wouldn't stand a chance. There is no excuse to ignore red lights and all those of us who do so should be ashamed of themselves.


This post was edited by idkwia at 10:35pm 26 October 2011.

Does anybody know on a pelican pedestrian crossing on the lights visible to pedestrians what a green bicycle in addition to the green person means? Does this indicate you are able to cycle across the crossing (from pavement to pavement) and does it also indicate the pavement being a designated cycle path?  One example in particilar is Gants Hilll roundabout on the A12 which is a busy roundabout for a cyclist in the rush hour.

If so does this also mean you are able to transition from being on the road to the pavement over the crossings and back onto the road the other side of the roundabout ?!

Best Regards,


  • By paul at 9:38pm 13 November 2011

If there is a green bicycle as well as a green person you have a "toucan" crossing that can be used by bicycles as well as pedestrians. The footways on both sides should have cycle tracks OR shared use markings and some way of getting there from the road. (You shouldn't cross a stop line to get there though)

I detest cyclists who don't stop at red. In fact I have noticed a trend. Most are male, however female cyclists without helmets also offend. Sorry to any of you who are law-abiding and who fit these categories. Some do it because they can (difficult to trace as cyclists are not licensed) Some do it to speed up their journey. Some do it because they are simply copying each other. But some do it as they are trying to make a point -ie, the lack of respect from authority in not providing safe and appropriate routes for cycling. Much as we might all agree with the latter issue, this is no excuse because ANY cyclist is the potential subject of abuse from drivers who are ever hungry for a hook to hang their cyclist hatred on. And remember drivers have the upper hand when it comes to using their vehicle as a weapon. Don't do it. And yes, police please punish this offence. It has got to stop, literally.
  • By Wellsy at 11:23am 17 January 2012

I am absolutely sick of cyclists that 'think' it must be safe to whizz through a red light because they cannot see anyone - what a load of nonsense.

As well as this I have been in Putney for 6 months and in that time several cyclists have sped past me whilst the crossing was on red. The worst of it being that every time I have had dog with me, and these so called cyclist have missed him by a matter of inches. If any of you cyclists ever hit him I would make sure you are prosecuted and hopefully go to prison. Morons.

Prior to living in London (I'm from Birmingham) I was very pro-bike, having even spent part of my career within the cycling industry. Thanks to the behaviour of certain cyclists I have been turned against cycling so thanks very much to the ignorant London idiots who continue to give cycling a bad name.



"Thanks to the behaviour of certain cyclists I have been turned against cycling so thanks very much to the ignorant London idiots who continue to give cycling a bad name."


I do not condone cyclists jumping red lights at all.

Infact it makes me mad when I've stopped legally, then are harassed by illegal motorists, then a cyclist goes past on red!.

The irony of jumping red lights is lost on many drivers I chat to from within the ASL's after they have entered on red and in law "jumped the lights." The law is meant to be there for all, motorists too

But by your logic above I assume you now detest, Car, lorry, bus, and taxi drivers to name but a few,

as well as..... dog walkers. ( I assume your dog is always kept under control). I often have more sympathy with the dog than the owners.

There are many "ignorent" people out there not just cyclists.

Birmingham is no different, have you cycled down the Bristol Road in the rush hour?

It's in the Highway Code you stop at red lights it doesn’t say if there is no traffic or pedestrians the cyclist can go. Those lights aren’t just to change colour and be pretty they are there for your safety.

It's the law people!

  • By paul at 10:17pm 20 February 2012


Actually the Highway Code is NOT the law. Only those parts which say "you MUST ....." correspond with legal requirements. The rest is advice.

Running red lights is idiotic behaviour which completely discredits cyclists in the eyes of the non-cycling public and reflects really badly on all of us.

When (not 'If') the day comes when the number of cyclists far exceeds the number of motorists on London's roads (as cyclists did in China before the mass love affair with cars started there 15 or 20 years ago), it will be physically impossible for a rogue cyclist to cross a junction against the flow of cyclists going in the other direction. Bring it on I say. Maybe then these idiots will get real and learn a bit of respect - for other cyclists and for for other road users generally.

In the meantime, if I kill a cyclist whilst driving my car because s/he has run a red light, it will be their fault not mine. They will be dead. I will have to live with the trauma of that experience for the rest of my life. How selfish is that ???!!!

I commute to work in Vauxhall and see all manner of poor cyclist behaviour from the gyratory system to Lambeth Bridge.  

In particular, I see cyclists cycling through pedestrian crossings, blocking pedestrians' paths as if it is a right.  I am a non-commuting cyclist and I always dismount at crossings.  Do commuting cyclists regard themselves as some higher form of life which can do whatever they want, trampling over others?  

I also see shoals of cyclists jumping the lights along Albert Embankment and getting quite aggressive with anyone who tries to remonstrate with them. 

Yes, it's hypocritical to expect other road users to respect your right of way and then refuse to observe a stop line.

However the links between riding attitudes, risk-taking and accidents are well established (Roadcraft, Chapter 1). Eventually - if sadly - the problem will be taken care of by a Darwinian process.

On a well designed road there would be no incentive for a cyclist to go through a red light.

In many cases traffic lights are unnecessary; zebra crossings and uncontrolled priority junctions can be used instead. It means that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists do not have to wait unnecessarily. (Camden has successfully removed a set of traffic lights on Maple Street, ending the absurd situation where cyclists going strraight ahead had a red light while the adjacent motor vehicle lane had a green light in case the motor vehicles wanted to turn right across the cycle lane).

The pedestrian / cyclist delay at toucan or pelican crossings should be minimised to reduce the temptation to cross on red (or replace the toucan with a zebra crossing / cycle priority crossing).

Cycle paths should bypass some traffic lights designed for motor vehicles (e.g. for turning left, or going straight at a T junction, or if the main purpose of the traffic lights is to assist large vehicles in turning corners).

At major junctions cycle and motor traffic should be segregated so that cyclists feel safe when crossing, and the timings should also favour pedestrians and cyclists so that they are not unduly delayed and tempted to cross on red.

In Holland they go one step further by making the green light for cyclists come more quickly when it is raining. That is because they like their roads to be safe and welcoming so that everyone can walk or cycle without fear.


Upon the conduct of each, depends the fate of all.

Red lights apply to all road users. Simple as that.

I'd also like to see cyclists stopping in the boxes which the councils have painted on the roads at tax payer's expense. Huge great boxes with a nice picture of a cyclist - then you see somebody go straight through that and stop on the pedestrian crossing. Thus giving pedestrians a reason to dislike cyclists.

Bad manners are common place in London. The only way this can be addressed is by the individual.

Please can everyone consider how much longer it takes to get to your destination if you stop at lights. Do you really need to get home an extra two minutes quicker? I'm sure if you miss two minutes of Ant and Dec you'll live, you won't if the Number 9 hits you.

  • By JEGW at 1:45pm 6 December 2012

Why is so much attention paid to cyclists going through red lights when vehicles stopping in the area reserved for cyclists is totally ignored?

Why do urban planners ignore cyclists when mapping out junctions so as to make it dangerous for cyclists who have to stop alongside traffic?

Why dont we ask those questions?

I'll stop going through red lights when lorries/motorcycles/cars/vans stay out cycle lanes and boxes at junctions....which of course isnt going to happen...

The problem is it is never a black and white argument. I agree with many cyclists who want to get the 5-second head-start, but I totally disagree with the idiots that race through lights skimming pedestrians etc becaus ethey don't want to stop. 

I think the government should adobt some other countries approach and give cyclists a head start at lights. And then totally clamp down on those that don't even bother to stop. 

I do not own a car, I gave it up in total favour of cycling. I have 2 children and a wife and I manage fine. So I want to make it clear that my favour is 100% with cyclists and their protection. 

On a side note...
It is interesting (yet worrying) how many drivers manage to spot cyclists jumping red lights, riding at night without lights etc, yet in the event of an accident with a well-lit law-abiding cyclist, still use the excuse "I didn't see them"!

I completely agree with the point prrabbitt.

There is absolutely no excuse in flying through a red light at a junction without possibly being able to know what is happening ahead. Whenever you see this it really is a heart in the mouth moment.

For myself though, i consider myself to be a very safe and observant cyclist who always is vigilant to others around and especially vigilant to my own safety.

I cycle to work the same way every day, to and from work. I have learnt the patterns of the traffic lights so know exactly where traffic (and pedestrians) will be coming from when.
I now know when the lights are going to change and it enables me to get out onto the junction before the mass line of buses and vans behind me has chance to move.
Generally by the time they catch me I'm over the junction nice and safe in the bike lane.
The times I've got to the junction slightly late and caught the lights just as they've changed to green has been some of the scariest moments on my bike.
There is not enough room on the junction for the amount of traffic using it so you've got buses stopping to turn right, vans swerving round the buses to go straight over the junction and also traffic going left too.
Navigating your way safely through that can be simply terrifying. 
I think that this again shows how badly our roads are set out for cyclists! 

I'm pretty sure that 99% of cyclists out there aren't the malicious, maniacs that some people here are suggesting.

Also, I don't see the difference between this and pedestrians just walking out from behind buses in the middle of the street.
The other day, I saw a cyclist moving up the cycle lane on a busy street when a pedestrian appeared from behind a bus and walked straight into the side of them knocking them straight off their bike.
And before someone says this doesn't happen as much as cyclists skipping red lights, I'd say that I have to swerve a wandering pedestrian pretty much on a daily basis.
There's no law or fine etc to prevent pedestrians from walking on roads which i think comparatively is wrong. 


For info, (and honesty). This morning I recieved a threat via another site on a different topic and realised that having an honest opinion using a real name is dangerous on forums. So I have had to create an alias for my username.

Thank you.

  • By Don at 2:04pm 22 April 2013

Many more cars than bikes cross red lights. The vast majority of drivers will "nick" the first couple of seconds of red because they believe the opposing traffic flow will not have started. Mostly, that calculation is correct but when it isn't, a collision is the result and many are killed or injured in these circumstances. Cyclists, by contrast cross on red when their eyes and ears tell them it is safe to do so. The result is that nobody in London is ever killed or seriously injured by bikes crossing red, nor are the cyclists themselves ever killed or seriously injured.

  • By Alison at 2:04pm 23 April 2013

I quite agree about motorists (and motorbikes) not observing ASLs and police cars occasionally sit in them too. The rules are never enforced yet you rarely hear motorists grousing about that nor about other drivers jumping the lights or approaching the lights at great speed. Funny that. Cyclists on the whole don't kill people - car drivers of course do (killed and seriously injured in the thousands). By the way I don't jump the lights either - it does no good to our image.

  • By GeorgeB at 3:59pm 18 June 2013

@Don: More drivers run red lights than cyclists? I wish that were true (well, sort of, in the sense of wanting to see fewer cyclists doing it, not wanting more drivers). But huge numbers of our fellow cyclists see red lights as a matter of choice, many more than drivers.

As you say, some cyclists run red lights when they can see it is safe to do so. But they are often wrong in making that asssessment, not appreciating for example how distracting it is for other road users to have to concentrate on them when they are somewhere they shouldn't be, something that disctracts attention from other hazards and contributes to other accidents.

There may not be many accidents when cyclists run reds, but to say that "nobody in London is ever killed or seriously injured by bikes crossing red, nor are the cyclists themselves ever killed or seriously injured" is an overstatement: e.g., a cyclist was convicted a few years ago after he killed an 84-year old when running a red light. Might be rare but it happens. And cyclists causing lesser injuries to pedestrians happens more often, though I would certainly accept that the daily slaughter caused by drivers is far worse, and that thoughtless pedestrians are a major hazard for cyclists. 

There's also the point about drivers watching many cyclists sailing through red lights and forming views about whether we are really fit to be on the road and fit to be respected.

it's really very simple, just stop at red lights.

This content was deleted by driverpedestriancyclist at 11:51am 14 August 2013.

Common sense judgement is required, but unfortunately the law has to be be aimed at idiots.  We all walk through red pedestran lights, using our common sense judgement.  Similarly, red lights can be crossed safely with proper respect for pedestirans, a good judgement of hazards.  They can also be crossed in a dangerous or inconsiderate way .  Until we have a better way of legislating for such idiotic behaviour, I will keep to the law, which says you can walk/run your bike through red lights.  (This may sometimes be more dangerous than riding through red lights, but at least I'm obeying the law as it stands currently).

Of course, the reason why so many pedestrians and cyclists jump red lights is that actually we're much more aware of our surroundings, are much more manoeuvrable, and take up far less space than when we're driving, so its much less risky to do so.  Also, as cyclists we like to keep some of the momentum that we've built up using our own efforts, rather than through burning fuel.

  • By Duncan at 7:23am 16 August 2013
I was in Copenhagen recently and among other things, I was surprised by the law-abiding culture among road users. Of course there are cycle lanes everywhere but there are still traffic lights at junctions. Absolutely everyone stops at red lights: pedestrians and cyclists as well as cars. Even late at night when the roads are empty and the only reason to wait is to not break the rule, everyone waits for the red light to change to green. No registration plates, no obvious police presence and quite possibly few cameras - it's just the way everyone behaves. I don't know that we would ever be that polite in the UK, but having a proper cycling infrastructure, not restrictive legislation, is clearly the way to eliminate conflict on the roads.

@Duncan.. Agreed.

I think there is an underlying attitude and adoption of arrogance in this country. I find the most frustrating thing is when people often point the finger at an entire transport type while claiming theirs to be superior.

I understand that in Copenhagen, they have strict liability laws. This way, there is much more pressure on cyclists to respect pedestrians, and in turn, much more pressure on cars to respect cyclists.

A few years ago, I went to Amsterdam with my family. My Mum inadvertently stepped out into a cycle path and was hit by a cyclist. She wasn’t seriously hurt, but had a bit of a gash on her ankle. The cyclist wasn't doing anything wrong, but because they didn’t allow for the unexpected, under the strict liability law, the Police arrested him.

This post was edited by MrCommuter at 10:26am 16 August 2013.

Using Tfl figures [rounded to aid clarity]

Percentage of cyclists who 'jump' red lights - 16%

Percentage of road users (other than cyclists) who 'jump' red lights - 16%

Conclusion: I'll leave that to you.

Question: Why do people only see cyclists 'jumping' red lights?

Hypothesis: This is the only time they see us!

Possible solution: Self-policing. We need to start challenging our fellow cyclists when we see them erring. How else are we going to get the infrastructure we need if we can't command the moral high-ground.

There IS no 'moral high ground'. Being 'better' than other road users is worth nothing.

Do you have a link for those stats?

I'd really like to see stats for who jumps lights, and how. There are plenty of people who slow down and stop in front of the line - this is jumping the lights. There are those who slow down and cross the lights when safe to do so - this is jumping the lights. There are those who blast through without slowing down or looking. This is jumping the lights.

Obviously there's a difference in the behaviours, and I'd be interested to see if they're differentiated in the stats. Assuming the 16% is correct, what type of RLJ are they committing?

I didn't say or intend that we had to be better than other road users. However if we want cycling provision that is better than the cheapest option [eg shared footpaths, paint on the road (often missing when you need it most) or a one metre strip down the side of a busy road full or iron-mongry)] then we have to be whiter than white.

You know as well as I do that a 6'2" cyclist dressed in "Oh My God! My eyes!" lycra is invisible untill they do something wrong and then they instantly become "ALL" cyclists.

The stats for RLJ's were given to me by someone working for TfL. I do not know if they are available to the general public. So, sorry I don't have a link at this time.

RLJ for the purpose of these stats is the whole of the vehicle crossing the whole of the line whilst the lights are at stop.

I hope this aids clarity but I am serious about our need to challenge bad riding by our fellow cyclists.

  • By badgery at 10:40pm 25 October 2013

How about everybody just accepts that cyclists might run red lights at our own risk?

If you run a red too fast to be able to stop for a pedestrian who runs out, then you are a selfish tit. But, tbh, not a lot of injuries are caused to pedestrians by cyclists at traffic lights - the far bigger worry is running into a pedestrian who's strayed off the pavement (or who is seeing the boundaries of the 'crossing' at a lights crossing in the loosest possible sense).

This is an issue of decorum, not safety.

I really can't be bothered to obey every red light which I can safely pass, just so that snobs on these forums and the politicians of the LCC can pursue some far-off moral high ground instead of worrying about the very real and distinct safety issues which actually kill our people (and don't just give a fright to those pedestrians and motorists who bimble around half-asleep).

Accept it happens. Stop getting high blood pressure over we red-light-runners. We've thought it out and made our choice.


  • By badgery at 10:42pm 25 October 2013

...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".


  • By badgery at 10:57pm 25 October 2013

Please can everyone consider how much longer it takes to get to your destination if you stop at lights

Have done.

I have also commuted by car and public transport and can tell you that while selfish driving can save you maybe 5% of your journey time (maybe 15% if you're really agressive and jump queues using the part-time bus lanes), and crossing the road by foot on red maybe saves you half a minute here and there, your journey time by bike across zone 1 is likely to be a good 40%-50% faster if you disobey the reds and instead just give priority to the traffic crossing against you.

This is why you're all onto a loser trying to convince us not to jump reds. You can either go the Dutch way, with police funded by on-the-spot fines for any minor infringement (see how motorists like their TfL fines), or you can try to reach out and we can come up with a norm of what is illegal, yet acceptable, behaviour. Until then, blanket condemnation of red light jumpers will earn you brownie points from some and contempt from others.


  • By M001 at 1:31pm 29 November 2013

In several hours’ time I will be driving home in which part of my journey will encounter a busy crossroads controlled by traffics lights.If I were to ignore the red traffic signal and drive straight through it, I’m more than likely to be hit by traffic either coming from the left or right.Being in a metal box I have a good chance of surviving the impact, however if I jump the red lights on my bike I will probably be seriously injured or killed.

At the same crossroads some time ago whilst waiting in my car at the traffic lights which were on red, I could see a couple on a tandem bike approaching in my rear view mirror. How wrong I was in thinking they were going to stop, they simply sailed straight through the red light without a care in the world.

I sat in my car and watched in utter amazement as they cycled across the junction expecting them to be wiped out by traffic either coming from the left or right.Luckily for them they got away with it and lucky for me I didn’t have to witness the potential carnage.

Cycling is a legitimate and a great form of transport and we as cyclists share the road with many forms of transport. The highway code applies to all.

I speak as a car driver and cyclist.

  • By sk5 at 3:32pm 29 November 2013

I see drivers mainly late at night go through red lights more. I see them park on the pavement where i am, on double yellows/cycle lanes. I see them use their mobile phones while driving and looking at their passenger while talking instead of looking ahead. It has come to the point that drivers think they are invincible in their cars therefore simply relax and nothing is being done about it.


Let's wear hi vis jackets, let's have protests, let's do this and that. NOTHING will change in this bloody country. We always wait until the last minute before anything gets done.


We should all carry something of our own to get back at the drivers!!!!!

  • By alexw at 5:04pm 29 November 2013


I really can't be bothered to obey every red light which I can safely pass, just so that snobs on these forums and the politicians of the LCC can pursue some far-off moral high ground

Translation - I'll do what I want, f**k everyone else.

RLJing is anti-social behaviour plain and simple. Do you think I want to stop every 100m at a set of lights? Especially where I could probably cross safely on a red. Of course I don't, but I stop because its the law.

If every road user just decided to ignore red lights then the roads would be utter chaos. Luckily most road users follow the laws. Because RLJers are such a minority, selfish idiots like you can get away with it without causing serious issues.

Its harming cycle campaigning progress too. Last night there was a very constructive CS2 safety summit at City Hall. Lots of people are working hard on trying to improve cycling infrastructure and conditions in London. However the meeting was completely eclipsed in the press by the LTDA RLJ video.

The thing is deep down you know all this, but you don't want to delay your journey by even a few minutes sop you're reaching for excuses to try and cover up your selfish anti-social behaviour. 

  • By M001 at 7:38pm 29 November 2013

Hi tobesure - I saw the video you mentioned today, really not good at all.The guy featured @1.08 swerving around two stationary cyclists who are waiting at the traffic lights so that he can cycle straight through the red light is really poor show.This does not promote good cycling at all.

  • By 5tratus at 11:15am 3 December 2013

I stop for red lights.  And as such, i'm an easy target for the motorists that are enraged at cyclists in general for not obeying rules.   I was stopped recently, waiting at a light in the little bike-box at the advanced stop line.    A car (with his left indicatory on) pulled up right beside me... in front of the line.  I looked at him... I looked at the line... I pointed at the line.... and he unrolled his window and screamed at me because 'you cyclists are always running red lights so you can't complain if cars stop next to you' ...  wtf?

i agree. We need to adopt the moral highground, as red lights when no traffic is moving are an annoyance to cyclists and motorists alike. As a group, cyclists will not get any sympathy until they are seen to follow the highway code. I for one now always stop and am building up courage to discourage others from jumping!

  • By dickyr at 6:59pm 3 December 2013
To answer the original question of August 2011, some cyclists go through red lights because they like the cut and thrust. Others because they have an unrealistic sense of their own mortality. And others because they are arrogant enough to think that cyclists are a superior class of road user to whom the rules shouldn't apply. But I seriously think that a large proportion do so because at SOME junctions at SOME times it is actually safer to treat a red light as a give way. This does sound counter intuitive but I believe it to be true. Example: filtering left when there is no cross flowing traffic gets cyclists away from vehicles accelerating away and turning left themselves. My understanding is that the majority of cycling fatalities at traffic light junctions are of cyclists who, having stopped at the red light, are pulling away, or about to do so, with the rest of the traffic. I would love someone to supply the real statistics. Having said that, it is still illegal and we can't complain about an officer or MoP who wishes to point this out to us. We should instead make the case for a change in the law to permit filtering in the same way as ASLs were introduced years after cyclists routinely 'contravened a red light' to place themselves firmly and confidently on display in front of the queuing traffic.
  • By evansdch at 2:45pm 11 December 2013


I accept that a fair proportion of cyclists break the law of the road. But it should also be recognised that a fair proportion of motorists do so as well. This need to be holier than thou misses the basic point - which is the fact that most accidents, including those ones involving cyclists, happen at junctions. 

I rarely run red lights these days - when I do it is because I think it is the safer thing to do. There is a wider question though - pretty much every single red light in the capital is placed there to facilitate the flow of motor traffic. I think I would (and more importantly the RLJers amongsts us would) have more respect for red lights and all the other paraphenalia if it were constructed with the needs of cyclists in mind. 

Journey to work today: 

# D plate car driving way to close to me at a junction with no ASL

# Large tipper lorry coming the opposite way to me, refusing to slow down despite the narrowing of the road.

# Saw a cyclist on Cromwell Road cut up by a left turning car which had not bothered to look. Luckily the lady in question screamed sufficiently loudly so was not hurt. 

# Squeezed against a truck on a road that is way to narrow for two way traffic. This last one was my fault really but as a cyclist I feel I am not a cause of other people's congestion and so should not suffer from it and hence push to the front of the queues when perhaps it is not 100% safe to do so. Same goes for all the disgusting air pollution we endure yet do not cause. 

  • By dickyr at 6:24pm 11 December 2013
Very well put. I have noticed that as the number of cycles increases the compliance rate at ATSs goes up. Is this just peer pressure or is it tha as we feel safer we are more prepared to comply. As I have a Brompton I have taken to stepping throughout the frame and walking across junctions with the pedestrian flow. This gets me away from traffic while not breaking the law. I would be interested to know what the exact definition is of 'cycling'. 'Driving' has a precise definition covering having control of direction and speed but I don't know what 'cycling' is. For example, scootering along on one pedal. This isn't cycling if the machine is a scooter but does it become cycling if it's a bike? What is a bicycle? Does it have to have a chain? Unicycles and penny farthings would fall outside this. Is it something with a seat? Does anyone have a link?

Scooting on one pedal is classed as cycling. I've read anecdotally of someone being fined for pavement cycling for doing so in Westminster. Can't remember where, so no link - sorry.

I would've thought that anything that could be regarded as a bike (or trike, or unike - I'm pretty sure that should be a word!) by the general public should not be ridden in pedestrian-only areas unless specifically allowed to.

  • By dickyr at 10:56pm 11 December 2013
I suspect that's true but I'd like to know if there's a stated case as to what constitutes riding. Some laws covering bicycle riding were originally drafted for horse riding and so they must have been over interpreted over the years.
  • By Dagda at 1:54pm 12 December 2013

When are we going to give up these silly right wing, conservative agenda debates? Anyone care to be scientific about this?

1. Helmets

The literature is at best ambivalent about helmets increasing cycle safety - this is not a clear cut argument and some studies have even concluded that wearing a helmet will actually increase risk.

2. Hi-Vis

Again, no conclusive evidence that hi-vis apparel makes cycling inherently safer.

3. Headphones.

No conclusive evidence that headphones are a contributory factor in cycling accidents. 

4. Red lights. 

Statistics on the number of people (all road users) killed or seriously injured by cyclists going through red-lights? 


So lets cut out the right wing agenda that seeks to blame cyclists for being killed and stop blaming the victims. Cyclists in London are being killed because of poor infrastructure, appalling driving skills, and unsafe HGVs being allowed on our roads in rush hour.

This is a ruthless right wing effort to further marginalise cyclists and disproportionately re-assign blame away from motorised vehicles and onto cyclists. 

And the mayor's response? I guess you can probably gauge my feelings on this. It will be interesting to see what the end of this pointless campaign of sticking policemen who are ignorant of the law and the highway code on junctions will turn up. How many penalties will be issued for driving into ASBs? Probably somewhere near the number of speeding fines that have to date been handed out in Islington for breaching the borough-wide 20mph speed zone.



Completely fail to see how these issue can be regarded as either left or right wing. Common sense and scientific rigor are not the preserve of either.

If you have a political axe to grind might I suggest you grind it in a more suitable enviroment or state your agenda more fully!

  • By Dagda at 4:35pm 12 December 2013

Anti-cycling feeling is dominated by the right, it's a simple fact - look at the anti-cyclist backlash in the rightwing press following recent deaths in London. Given that the London Mayor is Conservative and the London police are pretty right-wing, I stand by my assertions. Add to that the Mayor's transference of blame to victims you don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that this is a policital issue. 

Given that the majority of accidents involving cyclists are the fault of the motorist, why are the police equally targeting cyclists? Why is there such a strong anti-cyclist voice in this city and country in general? Until this attitude changes, cyclists will continue to be marginalised and cycling will be seen as a highly dangerous activity undertaken by a hardcore minority.

And where is the scientific rigour that has proven that wearing a helmet, hi-vis clothes, headphones or jumping red lights has any impact on road safety for cyclists?


This post was edited by Dagda at 4:49pm 12 December 2013.

  • By dickyr at 7:45pm 12 December 2013
You go on about 'scientific rigour' without seeming to understand that absence of proof does not prove the opposite (proof of man made global warming for instance), and rant off in a prejudicial way about the right wing being anti-cycling and the police being right wing. This is baloney unless you understand 'right wing' to be anyone who disagrees with you. And as far as police 'targeting' cyclists is concerned, advising cyclists about their responsibilities under the law regarding lights and red lights is exactly analogous to other preventative measures taken by all state organisations. For example, doctors giving dietary/smoking/lifestyle advice or the fire service advising on smoke detectors and fire doors is not blaming victims it's about trying to stop there being more victims. It's your sort of indignant and aggressive stance that endangers more cyclists as it gives some motorists license to treat me as though I am just another Bolshy cyclist. Might I suggest (as though you're likely to listen to anything contrary to your view) that with a more measured tone and well-reasoned arguments you might change someone's mind.

Dickyr it is all very well suggesting that the police handing out leaflets at junctions to cyclists is akin to the fire brigade advising on smoke detectors but the fire brigade don't waste hours and hours standing out giving leaflets to people while at the same time homes are burning down in fires they could be fighting. Speed kills. Police should be out there with speed guns not handing bits of paper to generally law abiding cyclists.

The 'police at junctions' thing is very much a "Something must be done. This is something - we must do that" response. I don't inherently disagree that it can be helpful to be 'seen to be doing something', but is the particualr response to a particualr problem the right one? What problem are the police there to solve? Is this a problem that led to any of the 14 deaths this year? Is this the best use of resources for tackling the actual problem of cyclists being killed? 

  • By dickyr at 8:05am 13 December 2013
Kentishman. The fire service do both. The police do both. I saw the cops out on that day when they flooded central London junctions. They weren't just speaking to cyclists, they were advising motorists, and particularly lorry drivers, about ASLs and indicators for left turns. I witnessed that at Park Crescent/Marylebone Rd and at Edgware Rd. Regarding driving offences, there are far more prosecutions for speeding and the prevalence of drink driving has been reduced. Drug driving is another matter.
  • By dickyr at 8:18am 13 December 2013
Marco, There seems to be an idea that the police are able to stop deaths on their own. They are part of the answer as they are empowered to stop and speak to drivers and cyclists. Traffic speed is lower than it used to be due to enforcement methods - any driver will attest to that - but the real problem in London, as we all know is not fast driving but lack of awareness ON BOTH SIDES, particularly at junctions. This is the point I made earlier about us feeling wronged and not wronging. I used to be a lorry driver and now I drive a car in Central London an awful lot and cycle about 10 miles a day in Central London. Road users get angry with other road users; and I do include cyclists. They are also capable of idiotic choices. For accidents to be reduced it is entirely proper for both drivers AND cyclists to be educated about safer conduct. To do otherwise would dilute the effect.

I've recently found my zen when on the bike - it's bloody lovely! If EVERYONE just chilled the hell out and realised that it isn't a race, and their journey is not the most important thing on the road then thngs would improve considerably.

I'm not blaming the police for the deaths (or the lack of action) - they're a tool of the state and generally do as they're told. I was more wondering why they're being used as they are, and if it will have any effect in making junctions safer. I've seen them at some junctions - that's great - but both the previous one and the next one it's been back to 'normal' again. This shows a failure of the policy, and highlights the infrastructure faults. Get the infrastructure right and people stop jumping lights, and fewer people get killed.

  • By Dagda at 9:49am 13 December 2013

Dickyr, not sure why the personal attacks, but that aside.

1. The number of people killed or seriously injured by cyclists is statistically insignificant. Drill that down to the number of people killed or seriously injured by cyclists going through a red light....

2. In collisions between cyclists and motorised vehicles, the statistics are at best dubious as fault is not always established. A 2012 report by Westminster Council suggests that the in over 65% of cases, the motorist is at fault. 

3. The continuing focus on safety gear for cyclists suggests that cycling is inherently dangerous and for those with a higher appetite for risk. This is blatantly misleading.

4. Police are targeting cyclists in the recent clampdown. They are 'having a word' with motorists who infringe ASBs but fining cyclists who break red lights - both are indiscretions that merit punishment under the law as it stands.

5. Doctors / fire service etc. offer good advice on proven methods to avoid known risks. Police advising about helmets and hi-vis clothing are not. Also, I do not expect police to be giving me advice - they should be impartially applying the law, but I concede that is a personal feeling.

6. There is a near hysterical anti-cycling feeling in a disproportionate number of the population. Focusing on the poor behaviour of a minority of cyclists is seeking to shift the blame to victims who are perceived as reckless. A disingenuous argument that negates the need to improve cycling safety and absolves motorists of responsibility for more vulnerable road users.


  • By dickyr at 9:52am 13 December 2013
What a great expression. I think I found my Zen too but I've put that down to ageing. I've also taken to talking to other cyclists: sometimes to share an experience, and sometimes if I judge that they are inexperienced, to give them some advice for doing something unsafe. And just occasionally to challenge somebody doing something downright unsafe or discourteous, such as riding across a red light when pedestrians are crossing (my Zen soon returns).
  • By dickyr at 10:29am 13 December 2013
Dagda, 1. I agree; 2. I agree; 3. I disagree. That's your perception but not mine or a lot of other people's. Safety gear is for safety. It is a personal choice so it doesn't help when experienced and bold cyclists (and I guess you are) seek to suggest to less confident cyclists that helmets and high viz are unnecessary. 4. Maybe; I don't know the stats. Drivers are more likely to be prosecuted for going through a red light than cyclists which is why cyclists feel they can do so with impunity. No cyclists as far as I know have been spoken to about getting in front of traffic at ATS over the front stop line even though technically this is an offence, so one might argue that motorists are being targeted more than cyclists by being 'spoken to'; 5. So crime prevention and community forums by the police is something they should not be doing? The police should stick to just applying the law? And you want to live in a country where the cops just turn up to prosecute people? Cripes! And you call others right wing? What about helping old ladies safely across the road? By your argument they should leave her to fend for herself and man a speed trap up the road; 6. Is there a near hysterical anti-motorist feeling in a disproportionate number of the cycling population? Neither is true (depending on your definition of 'disproportionate). Nobody is seriously seeking to shift the blame to victims (please see the context of BJ's comments about headphones etc. as they were a response to a direct question, and not one about the dead cyclist at all. So to extrapolate that advocating safety is blaming victims means that you either a). cannot understand the focus of the advice (all cyclists), or b). you consider that all cyclists are victims. Unless of course you can point out where a policeman or politician has blamed an actual victim (a real victim - a dead person - and not just 'victims' as you call them or cyclists as I call them) for their death.

Victim-blaming works by blaming the victim of an incident (in this case a cyclist crushed by a lorry). This does not have to be a direct accusation (see 'women' immigrants'), or an accurate accusation of any wrongdoing. It creates the atmosphere that the dead individual "probably deserved it" because "loads of go through red lights, and they don't even wear helmets or have lights". This ignores ALL potential facts of the actual incident and puts the 'blame' onto an out-group of unconnected individuals (in this case 'cyclists'). The next time someone is killed whilst riding to work, or home to see their family see how long it takes for RLJing/headphones/helmets/riding on the pavement to be mentioned. This will happen despite the actual facts of the incident, and probably in spite of the very real possibility that the rider would still be alive if they actually HAD committed one of the offences blamed. 

  • By Dagda at 11:07am 13 December 2013

hi Dickyr, i think we are coming a little closer together now.

3. We are probably closer on this than we think. I whole-heartedly agree that safety gear should be utilised where it shows benefit. I personally wear a helmet and hi-vis clothing. But I still have doubts on what I perceive to be a widely held view that cyclists are unduly cavalier with resepect to their own safety,particualrly around helmets when the literature is at best dubious on their effectiveness in serious accidents. 

4. As motorist cause more accidents, more prevention measures should be aimed at motorists - would this be fairer?

5. Sorry - poorly expressed on my side. I was speaking strictly in relation to what I choose to wear when cycling.

6. I strongly believe that cyclists are vulnerable road users and that there has been a knee-jerk re-aciton to be seen to be doing something. Borris has repeatedly made comments about cyclists taking more responsibility for their own safety which has a storng element of transferring blame to victims, and I mean real victims. From a recent Guardian article by Peter Walker - 


In May last year Johnson cited a statistic at one of his mayor's question time sessions: 62% of accidents in which a cyclist was killed or seriously hurt in London, he proclaimed, were found to have been connected to cyclist law-breaking. Cycle groups scratched their heads at the figure and asked for a source. Months passed, with the mayor's office saying the reference was "being researched".

Eventually, Johnson came clean: he had been told the figure by a member of the public at a meeting and trotted it out without checking. Transport for London then came up with the real proportion of cycling accidents found to have been due to cyclist law-breaking: 6%.

On Thursday, faced with five cyclists killed around the capital in nine days, Johnson decided not just to express his condolences and promise to see what lessons can be learned from the new tragedies but talk in an interview about light-jumping and other "very risky" behaviour by cyclists

Can we agree that Borris is at best crass when handling such a sensitive subject?


And coming back to the real topic on this thread - can we agree that red light jumping is at worst anti-social? I do believe that there is a concerted effort to shift blame to cyclists. I don't believe that all cyclists are victims, nor do I believe that all motorists are aggressors. 

But do a quick straw poll (not very scientific, granted) about why people won't cycle in London and the majority of the answers will be because it is too dangerous. Is it?

Btw, thank you for taking the time to respond. 

I heard a great quote from a conversation between a British journalist and a Dutch campaigner (can't remember where or when - sorry).

Journo: "Cyclists in London all go through red lights."

Dutch bloke: "Then your infrastructure is wrong"


I think this gets toward the nub of the issue. People want to ride because it's easy and quick. When motor traffic is prioritised it becomes slower, and harder as you have to get back up to speed. With cycle-specific infrastructure that prioitises cycling over motor traffic there are fewer lights to jump, and no reason to do so. This may be 'unfair' on drivers, but that's the point. By encouraging prople to ride the city can become a better living space. If you build it (properly) they will come.

  • By dickyr at 4:14pm 13 December 2013


This is my position. Cycling is not dangerous but it is not entirely safe. I wear a helmet and high viz. I don't get too hung up if I forget either but I do find myself riding slightly differently. I don't think either should be compulsory as freedom is part of the joy of riding and limiting that freedom would reduce the numbers wanting to do it.

I treat some red lights as Give Ways, especially left filtering, but I do acknowledge that although it is safer in many cases to do this it is still illegal and so infrastructure should change instead.

Medieval London is a difficult, but not impossible, place to install cycling infrastructure. To do so is more expensive than in a lot of other places and so we need to carry the majority opinion and not alienate it. The infrastructure that has been put in is in many cases poorly thought out but it is getting better. We are getting a significant sum that should really begin to make a change.

I am afraid I do sumetimes go through red lights on left hand turns or when there are simply no pedestrians are around. I scoot through with a foot on the ground, rather than ride and so consider myself a pedestrian when I do this. I wouldn't do a main junction and I don't ever go across a zebra crossing if a pedestrian is on it. So in my head I honour the little green man, although sometimes he would disagree with that statement.

As for motorists, 85% of them routinely speed and this I know kills many, many people. When motorists stop speeding, I'll stop scooting. Ummm, as a motorist I speed on motorways and sometimes elsewhere. Oh dear, I'm not doing very well, am I?

  • By Bas at 8:31am 17 December 2013

Red lights ar just an advice, aren't they?

If you have ever had a van/hgv/car driver rvving his engine just barely waiting to wheelspin away from the lights whilst using a bicycle you may know how uncomfortable that is and how that often makes you want to jump the lights (when safe) in order to get away from that menace.We do not have segregated cycling infrastructure in this country so it often feels like a war between a cyclist and driver which if there were an accident the cyclist would always lose!

Also at junctions , where most accidents happen, cyclists who roll forward (over a stop line) or indeed roll through the junction completely are avoiding the dangerous position that law abiding cyclists who wait at the lights put themselves in.This is why so many female cyclists (who make up a smaller proportion of cyclists on the road but are involved in a large proportion of 'left hook' accidents are caught out-they do not want to run red lights because they are more law abiding than men, but end up in the blind spots of vehicles that then turn left over them.

If you study the stats and ride regularly you would recognize exactly the point i am making!

I'm just adding to the numbers here, this is a very important issue for cycling and it needs to be addressed LCC. We need a change in the law

1) It remains essential that all cyclist come to a full stop at a red light and get fined if they don't 

2) Cyclist should then be allowed to proceed at walking pace, with priority to pedestrians, on or off their bike when the crossings are active

If this was in the highway code then car drivers won't have this stick to throw anymore. My partially sighted disabled wife and elderly parents completely agree with this.....  Sitting at the lights after all the pedestrialns have gone, watching the pedestrian lights counting down with all the cars behind you just wanting you out of the way is just bonkers.This is not the same and running the lights, which is totally wrong.

I got pulled up by the police today for drifting accross the junction after having stopped and let the pedestrians cross with a very nice italian fellow, the Italian guy had gone first and just couldn't make sense of what he'd done wrong - when I explained to the police the situation they clearly thought we had a point and just let us go. I think this is a simple solution to what is an out of date rule of the road.

you are right. the rules must obey even the cyclist too. otherwise there should occur some like accidents even death too. in my city, when i go for team outing bangalore, i saw trhese type of violations every day. 

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