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Riding a push-bike through red lights

(105 Posts)
rachelmonday1 Wed 12-Feb-14 16:22:20

AIBU for calling out to a woman and politely telling her that riding her push-bike through a red light is not only illegal but also very dangerous. She very impolitely told be where to go, but being a motorist who is always trying to second-guess cyclists actions I felt it only right to make my point. I also cycle, so am not a selfish motorist or anything, just someone that knows that a cyclist will get physically hurt far more than the motorist, but the motorist will still suffer with having been involved in an accident. Views......

WorraLiberty Wed 12-Feb-14 16:27:51

How could she hear you?

Did you catch up with her at another red light or something?

YWNBU but I doubt she's going to change her behaviour for you or anyone else who calls out to her.

amicissimma Wed 12-Feb-14 16:29:09

I was sitting on my bike at a red light yesterday, next to another cyclist. A car came up behind us and drove straight through on red.

A cyclist coming the other way would have to second-guess the car's actions. In fact, cyclists have to second-guess cars' actions every second.

I'm also a motorist.

People can make mistakes; they can be idiots. Let's expect the best of everybody, not just one group.

Theodorous Wed 12-Feb-14 16:31:09

I can't comment because I do not like cyclists who are arrogant and have previously made comments about Lycra idiots. But, today I had to do a whole corporate hang for the Tour of Qatar including a tv interview saying how marvellous it all is. The women were all Lycra clad and in fairness, I was promoting young women being allowed to cycle in the ME. My point is whilst irritating, at least they can.

rachelmonday1 Wed 12-Feb-14 16:31:29

I was walking at the time and she was cycling towards me. I doubt she'll change her behaviour either, unless she's involved in an accident (God forbid). I'm just wondering whether I did the right thing or not.

Lottapianos Wed 12-Feb-14 16:34:03

I think you were right OP. I have done similar. I think people who cycle through red lights should be put in the stocks, ditto people who cycle on the pavement. It's arrogant and dangerous, and bloody frightening actually.

fay144 Wed 12-Feb-14 16:44:02

I find this topic quite interesting. You may be aware of the shocking statistics on the disproportionate number of fatalities affecting female cyclists, compared to men in cities. One recent year in central London, there were ~4 times as many deaths among women as men, which is shocking enough. But when you consider there are ~3 times as many male cyclists, then it's even more so.

One theory for the reason behind this is that men are more likely than women to jump red lights and generally ride a bit more aggressively. And it makes sense - getting a head start on the traffic before it starts manoeuvring round junctions could be seen as much safer.

So I try not to judge people for making their own decision on what is safest.

I get far more annoyed at drivers doing it (and I see that much more often). The difference is that drivers do it at the start of the red light (amber gambling) which is seen as normal, and acceptable, even though the only reason for it is to save themselves a few minutes. But a cyclist getting at head start at the end of the lights sequence for safety reasons is seen as unacceptable.

Personally, the only times I've went through a red light on a bike are:

1) When the light turns yellow, and I can hear the car behind me accelerating. It's a split second choice between cycling through the red light, or risking going through it on the windscreen of the car behind if I brake.
2) When the lights are sensor lights, that don't pick up bikes - there were are few on my old route to work, and outside rush hour there was often no other traffic to trigger changes in the lights.

rachelmonday1 Thu 13-Feb-14 12:16:42

Very well put Fay, and I can totally see and accept your points. I think what really sparked me off though, is that this cyclist was in a cycle lane with plenty of room and went straight across a cross-road junction without even slowing down. OK, there was good visibility and she could see no vehicles were coming, but it's the principle that wound me up and showed a bad example to any youngsters that may have been around or passengers in cars in the waiting queue.

ProfPlumSpeaking Thu 13-Feb-14 12:25:10

I think probably YANBU but it depends on what your "principle" is and whether you are consistent. If your principle is that nobody should break the law (a good principle) and if you also politely call out to people who drop cigarette ends, drive whilst on mobile phones, smoke on the trains at night, speed in cars, have their dogs offlead where they should be on leads etc then fine.

If, OTOH, your principle is that cyclists need to be put down a peg or two and you pick only on them (it doesn't sound like you are like that, but some people are) then YABU.

holidaysarenice Thu 13-Feb-14 12:29:46

I had a workmate who cycled and justified her jumping red lights 'to get ahead of the traffic!!'

It really pissed me off. Without fail she would jump the lights, then I would pass her, shed jump the next lights, I'd pass her.....

The morning I watched her career into a sign as she swerved to avoid a car, and whilst thankfully not injuring herself but wrecking a thousand pound bike I laughed.

She had the cheek to call the police on the driver. Who went through the green light and her the red....all to get ahead!!

It was a long walk for many months.

Lovecat Thu 13-Feb-14 12:30:23

I used to work on Bishopsgate and had to cross the road from Liverpool St Station to get to my office.

The number of utter twats who ignored red lights - not on the change, not to get away early, full on red lights that all the traffic had stopped at, they sailed across like they weren't there - and then had the audacity to swear at you on the pedestrian crossing for being in their way when you were crossing legitimately! They couldn't see who was crossing from the right because of the traffic on that side, and we couldn't see them for the same reason.

It gave me the rage. Probably a good job I left that particular office as I'd taken to screaming 'RED LIGHT you bastard!' and pointing at the signals like a frothing, demented harridan every time one of the fuckers sped past me with a few millimetres to spare...

Rooners Thu 13-Feb-14 12:30:33

I don't think bicycles and cars should ever share a road tbh. I say that as a lifelong cyclist and also a motorist and motorcyclist.

It's just the basis of all the problems.

More cycle lanes
fewer cars perhaps

smaller cars, not these great, selfish, hulking things that no one can see past or get past.

But yes cyclists need not to do stuff like that, too.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 13-Feb-14 12:31:37


What else were you meant to do - if you're walking and she was cycling towards you through a red light?!

I can't believe some of the responses on here are implying it was reasonable for her to try to run you down. Am I missing something? confused

specialsubject Thu 13-Feb-14 12:33:47

it is indeed illegal to cycle through a red light. End of.

the problem for cyclists is when waiting at lights, they are slower to accelerate than the cars and risk being run down by impatient drivers. So some of them (and it is still illegal) will start moving earlier. I do not recommend this.

ProfPlumSpeaking Thu 13-Feb-14 12:36:07

I am sure everyone agrees that cyclists should not jump lights. I think OP is asking whether she was BU to "call out" and tell the lady (who presumably noticed she had gone through the light and knew it was illegal). So I think what she is asking is whether we should all be unofficial policemen and call people on law breaking whenever we see it. Personally, I am not sure - I often call people on using their mobile phones while driving (if I catch up with them at lights) but assume I am the exception as otherwise not so many people would be doing it! I am too wimpy to challenge the late night smokers on trains though...I saw someone who did and his jaw was broken by the next stop. I guess we need to be careful that we don't challenge only naice middle class women on (relatively minor) legal enfringements whilst ignoring behaviour that is more dangerous and harder to challenge.

Nicola19 Thu 13-Feb-14 12:36:42

I hate this! YANBU. I always cheerily shout out to cyclists 'Excuse me, did you realsie you just went through a red light?'

Cyclists should obey the rules of the road just like they expect cars to, grrrr...

ProfPlumSpeaking Thu 13-Feb-14 12:37:26

LRD I assume OP was on the pavement, and the cyclist on the road. I don't think OP (or anyone else - clear road) was in any danger - OP says she was worried about the example the cyclist might be setting to any watching youngsters. Odd motive, admittedly.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 13-Feb-14 12:41:56

I think YABU. So she could see the junction was clear and it wasn't dangerous, it was just the principal that bothered you. And it bothered you enough to distract her from riding by shouting at her?

It's illegal to go through a red light, so in that sense she shouldn't be doing it, though, as fay points out, there are some good reasons for cyclists to be a bit agressive and skirt the law on the road at times. But given the situation I really don't think it's something to be morally outraged by and certainly not something to distract a cyclist for.

meiisme Thu 13-Feb-14 12:43:44

When I cycle I jump red lights when pedestrian lights in my direction are green, and ride on pavements occasionally. Both are to keep out of the way of cars as much as possible. Safety, really.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 13-Feb-14 12:46:11

prof - oh, ok ... I'd assumed she was walking in front of the cyclist.

TBH, I'd shout too. It's dangerous and stupid. And people do follow the example. Round here, you get lots of people who've never learned the rules, and a lot of them completely honestly believe it's fine to run the red. That's more dangerous, because they don't realize they're doing anything wrong, so they're not looking out for it.

So I think I still agree with her, though on a practical note I'm not exactly surprised she got told to fuck off!

KidLorneRoll Thu 13-Feb-14 12:46:51

As Fay rightly says, sometimes it is better for a cyclist to ignore certain rules of the road when their safety takes priority. If someone on a bike feels it safer to jump a red light, or bounce up on a pavement or nip down a one-way street and do it carefully, then I don't think they should be condemned for that. Fuck knows there are enough idiots in metal boxes doing their best to make the roads as dangerous as possible at the best of times with little understanding of what riding a bike in traffic is actually like.

Having said that, of course you will come across the odd arsehole, but that person will be an arsehole whether he or she is on a bike, in a car or walking.

StanleyLambchop Thu 13-Feb-14 12:52:47

I had this happen to me the other day- only I was crossing the road. All the other lanes of traffic stopped for a red light. Several pedestrians started to cross the road. Cyclist just whizzed straight through red light, almost ploughing into me on the crossing. Good job I was nifty on my feet.

I understand that cycling is not that safe in cities, but it is hardly fair to illegally go through red lights, putting the onus on pedestrians to
have to leap out of the way. Why is the safety of pedestrians any less valid? YANBU.

Tailtwister Thu 13-Feb-14 12:54:41

The problem is that when one group is seen breaking the law (or bending the rules if they would rather see it that way) it enrages the other group.

It does irritate me when cyclists break the basic rules of the road. I don't think it's ok to run a red light because you think it's safer. Neither do I like it when cyclists squeeze between cars to get to the front of the queue. I saw someone do it between 2 lorries yesterday and they nearly got crushed.

ConfusedPixie Thu 13-Feb-14 12:56:25

YANBU. This happens all of the time down here. I was first in a queue are a T junction waiting for the lights to change, for those on the main road it's a blind corner of a very busy road (hence the lights!) and a cyclist ignored his red light and went straight across as I was driving down. Luckily I was first and not one of the people who just shoot off of that junction because I know that cyclists do it there!

That and riding with only a tiny flashing light on the front (if one at all) in the dark wearing dark colours drive me insane.

ScrambledSmegs Thu 13-Feb-14 12:58:32

YANBU. I wish more people would tell light-jumpers off.

I've witnessed a cyclist who ran a red light going under a bus, and I consequently don't believe that jumping the lights can ever be a good thing. It just feels like Russian roulette.

I'm a cyclist myself, regularly going through Central London and I've seen my fair share of dumbass cycling, driving and pedestrians just stepping off the kerb without looking. I always cycle defensively and I obey the rules of the road. Only ever had one accident, it wasn't my fault (big van glanced off my ginormous pannier and knocked me over) and I walked away. Much better that than head on collision with someone doing 30 through a green light.

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