I’ve got a bike, and I’ll ride it how I like


Bike / Meter, under Creative Commons by hey mr glen. Click pic for link.

Bike / Meter, under Creative Commons by hey mr glen. Click pic for link.

My argument for the day: red lights should be ‘give way’ for cyclists.


This Velorution article gives the precedent in Utah, where cyclists can treat a red light as a ‘Yield’ sign, and go even if cars have to be stopped.

Some cyclists do not show consideration towards pedestrians; many others do not always stop at red lights. The first group is asocial and needs to be dealt with. Irked about the latter? Just change the law to say that cyclists have to stop and yield at red lights, like in Utah.

Is it fair to treat cyclists as two distinct groups? There’s only one set of rules for cars, or for pedestrians? But the fact of the matter remains that there are at least two mindsets of cyclists, more like three: those who take every light seriously, who wait in their place in the queue (newbies and wusses); those who hop the odd light and weave to the front of the queue (such as myself and Adam Buxton); those who cycle aggressively paying no attention to rules or people (mostly couriers).

The latter and the first can be applied to drivers too, of course, there’s a distinct, um, distinction between normal, Johnny Sensibles and the boy racer set. But the same rules apply to each side. Why should cycles be any different?

  • I’m a lot more vulnerable on a bike than you are in your car. If I have to weave to the front of the queue then I will, because it’s that much a safer place to stop.
  • I’m a lot slower than you are in your car. I pull away as early as I can, even if it’s still red, because I need to get going so I’m not run over, or holding you up.
  • I’m a lot heavier (relative to power) than you are. It takes me a lot more effort to keep stopping than it does you pressing on button on the floor.
  • I’m sensible. It seems a silly thing to have to say, but I’m a sensible driver, pedestrian and cyclist. I’m not going to take unnecessary risks to my own person, and I’m certainly not going to endanger anybody else with anything I do.

So I’m going to continue hopping red lights – where it’s completely safe to do so – and will nip around traffic to be at the front of the queue when I do stop. It’s sensible, it’s reasonable and from my point of view, the best way to cycle in London. So don’t swear at me if you’re not happy, got it?


2 Responses

  1. Couldn’t agree more! Those four points are exactly what go through my head too!!

  2. I take offense you you calling all cyclist who obey the law “newbies and wusses”. I stop for the red lights and positively despise those that don’t. Very rarely does any of their reasoning so anything but try to cover up for that fact that they are a poor, scared cyclist who can’t deal with traffic.

    You don’t HAVE to be at the front of a queue of traffic to be in the safest position. If anything that can be a more dangerous place to be as the car at the front will be trying to move off quickly. If you actually look at how cars move off from a stop the further down the line you go the slower they move off as (now this may surprise you) MOST drivers are sensible and don’t want to either run you over or damage their cars 🙂 This means that waiting in the queue (in primary, you may be familiar with this position but as you RLJ I’m not so sure….) you are perfectly visible to the car behind and can move off at roughly the same pace as the traffic.

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