September 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm #74887
I know that it’s been covered before here on the forum, but I am gradually becoming increasingly outraged by the gratuitous disregard for red traffic lights and pedestrian crossings that many of the racing bike ‘lycra brigade’ cyclists display.
It’s been over a year since I signed-up to the BB scheme and entered the world of the London cyclist. I love cycling in London and use the BB’s every day (weather permitting). However I can’t remember a BB trip where I didn’t witness multiple law-breaches. Take last night. Cycling past the House of Commons towards Vauxhall. A pedestrian was in the middle of a pelican crossing – literally in the middle of the road. As I pulled-up, 4 guys on racing bikes pelted past me. They cycled straight at the guy in the middle of the road, swerving either side of him at the last second. Can you imagine someone doing that in a car? They’d surely be arrested and lose their license.
Meanwhile, this morning there had been a serious accident at the lights at Vauxhall Cross involving a cyclist and a truck. The cyclist was in bad shape, and I hope he was ok. Plenty of other cyclists were watching-on grim faced. 500 yards down the road those same cyclists piled straight through a red light. Will they ever learn?
I wonder if there are any plans to increase enforcement of the law? Perhaps some kind of awareness comapaign (signs at traffic lights perhaps?) as a start.September 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm #84677
Nothing will happen about it until it happens to “someone you know”. So if it happens to me, or someone I know, I’ll change my habits. Repeat/extrapolate for the rest of the population.
Same as helmets.September 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm #84678
To be fair, it’s not just the Lycra brigade. I see more and more BBers going through red lights (and let’s not mention cycling on pavements)…September 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm #84679
Yes I reckon the lycra brigade are like any other group, some jump, some don’t.
It’s of course their fault for knowingly jumping the lights but another thing shocks me, is the number of times I’ve seen people do it in front of a police car – and they don’t go after them. That must surely encourage their sense of impunity?September 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm #84680
I don’t think it’s just lycra-wearing cyclists – I see pretty much every kind of cyclist do it. Most of the time I don’t jump red lights, because I’d hate to be in an accident caused by my own stupidity, but there are times where I feel that it could potentially be safer than waiting for the lights to change.
For example, heading south on Lambeth Road, if you need to turn right onto Kennington Road you have to advance into traffic then wait in the middle of the road for the outside lane of northbound traffic to stop. A filter light for cyclists would make it easier to use the gap in the light sequence to turn right safely (rather than have motorists to yell “get out of the way” while trying to overtake, then nearly crash into the outside lane traffic, as happened last week!)
Also, and this might be more controversial, I don’t always stop at zebra crossings. Fair enough if pedestrians are using them, and I can’t safely avoid them, but sometimes stopping sharply is just not feasible. I never ride straight at people, but getting going again isn’t as easy on a bike as it is on a car – I have to work to accelerate!
I guess what I’m saying is, I want to ride safely and considerately, but I’m aware that doesn’t always mean following the strict letter of the law.September 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm #84681
I agree – cyclists should stop at red regardless (unless to do so would cause an accident) But it would make more sense if TfL prioritised cyclists at junctions. I’m sure some cyclists skip the junctions are doing so to escape the inevitable revving of impatient drivers behind. (I simply get off the bike and walk it over).
On another note, you have to actually be able to SEE a red light to be able to stop at it. Take the lights along Bloomsbury Way with those *stupid* grilles on them (TfL, are you listening?), which are virtually impossible for anyone at cycle to see the light on red (or green, or anything else). So how sure can you be a cyclist has actually seen a red light?
And finally. You have to be able to see not only the lights, but other road markings to detect where a red light should be. Take Victoria Embankment travelling West. Cut to a potentially lethal set of lights somewhere along the Embankment near Temple Place. Imagine an inexperienced cyclist travelling West along the Embankment with traffic revving behind, trying to keep up, sees a turning on the right. Marvellous, well it looks like a right turn, but you won’t see the “no right turn” sign that is probably there, but you will not see from three lanes across on the left, because 25 cars are in the way travelling at 45mph obscuring your view. You have, what, 0.75 sec to make a decision. That junction, which you cross several lanes to position yourself to turn, at speed (to avoid getting run over), will find you cycling into oncoming traffic coming at 45mph the other way. No red light, but hey, who’s listening. The road is for cars anyway. Flipping marvellous bit of engineering there from TfL, thanks guys!
The joys of cycling in a ‘cyclised city’.September 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm #84682
Evening Standard report on Vauxhall crash It looks like the accident in Vauxhall was caused by a bike being hit from behind by a lorry. Very, very sad, I hope he recovers.September 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm #84683
Sad indeed, glad that the guy has been stabilised.
I do agree that the red-light running is not exclusive to the owner/racer cyclists (aka ‘lycra brigade’). I saw a BB’er go straight through the red lights at Waterloo Bridge/The Strand this morning – a potentially suicidal manoevre. I also wonder whether there’s any correlation between speed and chances of (causing/being involved in) an accident. The guys who went straight over the crossing last night were going so fast that they would have had to brake heavily to stop. It was easier for them to carry straight on. The Boris Bikes are so heavy that they prevent ‘speeding’ on most roads and therefore are possibly safer??September 26, 2011 at 11:40 am #84684
PMParticipantQuote:A pedestrian was in the middle of a pelican crossing – literally in the middle of the road. As I pulled-up, 4 guys on racing bikes pelted past me. They cycled straight at the guy in the middle of the road, swerving either side of him at the last second.
A cyclist did that last year and hit my wife. He ended up with a £300 fine after I ‘encouraged’ him to accompany me and speak to two nearby police officers.
As a result, if I am crossing on a zebra crossing or on a green man, and a cyclist is not respecting the red light and by doing so is going to come close, then I ‘suggest’ that they keep away by swinging a rucksack or pointing a steel tipped brolly at them.October 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm #84685
westcountrytimParticipantQuote:Can you imagine someone doing that in a car? They’d surely be arrested and lose their license.
Very unlikely the police would do anything.
Plenty of cars/vans/motorbikes will abuse zebra crossings.
Or jump red light if they think they can get away with it:Quote:I wonder if there are any plans to increase enforcement of the law? Perhaps some kind of awareness comapaign (signs at traffic lights perhaps?) as a start.
The Police do regular red light jumping stings in the city and other places in central.
A general campaign for better road use would be a better bet.October 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm #84686
What I would like to see is a website to upload videos from blackberry/iphone of cars, buses, and whatever else doing silly manouvres
so everyone can see how widespread it is. In real time. So if there is an issue with a repeat offender
they can be picked up more quickly.
And how for pedestrians and cyclists those manouvres are so much more dangerous (because of their perceived relative vulnerability).
Which is why the police should crack down on motorists harder (not just because they are motorists, since many cyclists are also motorists)October 26, 2011 at 12:09 pm #84687
I’m not sure it’s such a big deal. Think it avoids more accidents than it causes.November 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm #84688
Unfortunately there will always be those cyclists jusrt as impatient as drivers who are looking for the quickest route to their destination, even if it means putting themselves and other road users at risk.
I have to hold my hands up and say I have been guilty of jumping red lights in the past, but have started commuting more frequently and made a conscious effort to be patient and obey the light system.November 30, 2011 at 9:58 pm #84689
I think the only reason people get frustrated by this is because they wish they’d done it and got away with it. That’s what used to happen to me… then I’d make it my mission to catch up/pass whoever I’d seen jumping a red light only to stop at the next one as they pootled past me again, expending little energy to make the same progress as me stopping and accelerating and huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf.December 1, 2011 at 11:35 am #84690
I get frustrated by this because not because the RLJs get ahead of me, but because it’s one of the things that gives cyclists a bad name. What’s struck me most when using BBs since Feb are the looks of surprise and gratitude I often get when stopping for pedestrians waiting to use zebra crossings. And as a pedestrian, I’ve also had a number of near misses with cyclists who cannot be bothered to stop for red lights (often on an empty road, so absolutely no safety excuse).
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