Cyclists ignore red lights

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Summary of the claim

A brief summary of what is being claimed, variants of the claim, and the consequences of the claim. One short paragraph should suffice: further detail can go in the essay below.

Example sources

Notable, influential, good quality or extreme examples of the claim. Again, keep it short.

Summary of responses

A numbered list briefly introducing the main problems with the claim. One or two sentences for each should suffice (though perhaps some will merit nested lists), with further detail saved for the essay.

In more detail

A certain proportion of all road users ignore red lights at traffic signals, including cyclists. Whilst this behaviour is illegal and inconsiderate, the risks posed to cyclists by red light jumping are actually very low, with approximately 4% of collisions between cyclists and other road users being due to cyclists failure to obey traffic signals/signs1. As expected, the risk posed to others by a cyclist jumping a red light is minimal (although increased in the presence of a pedestrian crossing) when compared to the same behaviour on the part of motorists, it does receive a lot of attention from the mainstream press. In order to tackle this undesirable behaviour, it is important to consider the underlying reasons:

  • Expediting cyclist’s journey
  • Fear of being caught up in a large group of rapidly accelerating motor vehicles when the light changes to green
  • Fear of being overtaken by this large group of motor vehicles often too closely to feel safe
  • Fear of aggressive and abusive behaviour from a small minority of motorists if the cyclist decides to “take the lane” for their own safety in this situation.
  • Traffic light sensors not detecting bicycles

Most of the reasons for red light jumping are due to personal safety concerns; red light jumping is a reaction to the motor-centric design of our existing road network. The behaviour of the small minority of red-light jumping cyclists highlights the limitations of our existing road and traffic signal design in catering for the needs of cyclists and illustrates the need for dedicated cycle infrastructure to be made into a core component of our road network. By making appropriate changes to the road network, making it more suited to the needs and safety concerns of cyclists, disobeying of traffic signals by cyclists can be reduced. This will reduce the risk of injury to both cyclists and pedestrians due to this behaviour.

Footnotes and references

1 City of London’s report on Casualties in the City (19.11.2007)

Related claims

Other claims from the same category in the Common claims and canards section of the Wiki.