Why do cyclists run red lights?

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Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:20 pm

Almost 40 per cent of cyclists have reported committing red light infringements, but fines should only be part of the strategy to improve safety, according to new research.

Published in Accident Analysis and Prevention, a study by Monash University researchers Drs Marilyn Johnson, Judith Charlton, Stuart Newstead and Jennie Oxley, examined why Australian cyclists run red lights and the characteristics of those who do.

The researchers, from the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) surveyed more than 2000 cyclists and found that the most common reasons cited for riding through red lights could be at least partially mitigated by more inclusive road infrastructure, amendments to road rules and targeted education programs.

Almost one third of respondents who had run a red light did so during a left hand turn. The next most common reason, cited by 24.2 per cent of infringers, was that they were unable to activate the sensors in the road, known as inductive detector loops, to trigger a traffic light change. Just over 16 per cent of cyclists reported a red light infringement when no other traffic - vehicular or pedestrian - was present.

Dr Johnson said the study results implied that many cyclists felt it was safe to turn left against a red light.

"The most obvious safety benefit for cyclists if they turn left during the red light phase is that they then don’t have to negotiate the corner with the vehicles," Dr Johnson said.

"A well-planned trial with adequate signage would be a good first step to see if permitting cyclists to turn left on red at some intersections would improve cyclists’ safety."

Dr Johnson said infrastructure adjustments could help resolve the problem of detector loops not being triggered by bikes and leaving cyclists stranded during low-traffic periods.

"Cyclists across Australia were frustrated by their inability to change traffic lights," Dr Johnson said.

"At some sites, cyclists can activate the signal change if they ride over the right spot. Painting that spot with a bike symbol may be an easy and very cheap solution. At other sites, we need to reconsider how these detector loops are calibrated to ensure all roads users can activate the signal change."

Results showed that overall, men were more likely to infringe than women, as were people aged 18 to 29, compared to those in older age brackets. Cyclists who had been fined for a red light infringement while driving were 50 per cent more likely to have infringed while riding a bike.

"Fines continue to have a place in enforcing road rules for cyclists, but these will be more effective when combined with measures to make the roads a more inclusive place for cyclists," Dr Johnson said.


Source: Monash University

For those interested the article in press is available for download.

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by BNA » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:49 pm

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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby human909 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:49 pm

:roll: Big deal. Why do pedestrians run red lights? :lol:
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby DavidS » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:16 pm

I'm still trying to work out why cars run red lights, after all, they have registration plates for all to see.

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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Peacewise » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:20 pm

It's a victimless crime.

I estimate that as a bike courier I ran about 100 red lights a day, 5 days a week 48 weeks of the year for 5 years.
So that's about 120,000 red's I ran and I'm still here... and about 120,000 minutes of work I gained.

Seemed to me back then in the 90's that Red lights really just shouldn't apply to bikes, a waste of time for all concerned.

Nowadays I am a touch more respectable and all, obeying the road laws including those pesky red lights... but I'm not a bike courier any more either. If I was, yep I'd still be running red's as safe as houses. Waste of bloody time they are (for cyclists) and I don't mind saying so.
Keep flexing, spinning, rolling, coasting, pushing, pulling, drafting, sprinting, time trialling, touring, climbing, descending, hot dogging, crit-ing, racing, weaving, dodging, dropping, tanking, chasing... but most of all - just keep f'ing riding!
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:29 pm

Pick me, pick me! Iknow this one!!! It's the same answer for all users!

Because
They
Can
:roll:


Now, do I get a grant for my ground breaking study into the ubiquitous use of Dihydrogen Monoxide as a performance enhancing agent in the ranks of pro cyclists?
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby waramatt » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:35 pm

I'm with Peacewise.

If I'm in traffic, I stop at lights. 100% of the time. I do this primarily to try and promote positive attitudes towards cyclists amongst motorists, not for safety reasons.

But when there are no cars or pedestrians around, I happily run red lights if it is safe to do so. For starters, I have more of my senses available to me. Not only do I have far superior peripheral vision on my bike c/f my car, but I can hear what is coming.

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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby human909 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:37 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Now, do I get a grant for my ground breaking study into the ubiquitous use of Dihydrogen Monoxide as a performance enhancing agent in the ranks of pro cyclists?


No. You are completely ignoring the fact that Dihydrogen Monoxide kills millions each year particularly in the third world. It is irresponsible people like you who give research a bad name!
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby ldrcycles » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:01 pm

MB's got it, the same reason some cars, trucks and pedestrians pay little attention to red lights, because there are idiots everywhere.

Whether there are people around or not, i ALWAYS stop for a red light. Why? Because it's the law, derr.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Leiothrix » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:32 pm

ldrcycles wrote:Whether there are people around or not, i ALWAYS stop for a red light.


If you're at a red light at a side street going on to a bigger road and there aren't any cars around to trigger the change for you, you're going to be waiting there for a while.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby ldrcycles » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:50 pm

That's where steel frames come in handy lol. I've only had one set of lights not trigger for me, i ended up just crossing like a pedestrian. If you don't see red lights as a welcome excuse to rest, you're not riding hard enough lol.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:54 pm

Leiothrix wrote:If you're at a red light at a side street going on to a bigger road and there aren't any cars around to trigger the change for you, you're going to be waiting there for a while.


There's very few intersections where good positioning over the sensor won't give you a go. Most of the bad ones have concealed loops IME.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby il padrone » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:58 pm

Leiothrix wrote:
ldrcycles wrote:Whether there are people around or not, i ALWAYS stop for a red light.


If you're at a red light at a side street going on to a bigger road and there aren't any cars around to trigger the change for you, you're going to be waiting there for a while.


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I46k45pmXIo&feature=player_detailpage[/youtube]

This works with steel, aluminium, and even with carbon frame bikes I believe.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby clackers » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:23 pm

Leiothrix wrote:
If you're at a red light at a side street going on to a bigger road and there aren't any cars around to trigger the change for you, you're going to be waiting there for a while.


You can trigger the pedestrian crossing, if you suspect that'll be the case.

Like others in this thread I won't run a red light as it's inflammatory to the general public. The bike haters I couldn't care about.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Oxford » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:30 pm

Mulger bill wrote:
Leiothrix wrote:If you're at a red light at a side street going on to a bigger road and there aren't any cars around to trigger the change for you, you're going to be waiting there for a while.


There's very few intersections where good positioning over the sensor won't give you a go. Most of the bad ones have concealed loops IME.

in Qld you just get on the path and ride around the corner. if you cannot do that, just get off and walk, is it really that hard? and you don't cop a red light ticket in the process. lateral thinking.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby KenGS » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:00 am

il padrone wrote:This works with steel, aluminium, and even with carbon frame bikes I believe.

I believe its the wheels that do the triggering, not the frame. I've reported a few around my area that don't trigger but it's hard to follow up since its not often I'm out there are no cars about.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Yagan » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:24 am

Peacewise wrote:It's a victimless crime.

I estimate that as a bike courier I ran about 100 red lights a day, 5 days a week 48 weeks of the year for 5 years.
So that's about 120,000 red's I ran and I'm still here... and about 120,000 minutes of work I gained.

Seemed to me back then in the 90's that Red lights really just shouldn't apply to bikes, a waste of time for all concerned.

Nowadays I am a touch more respectable and all, obeying the road laws including those pesky red lights... but I'm not a bike courier any more either. If I was, yep I'd still be running red's as safe as houses. Waste of bloody time they are (for cyclists) and I don't mind saying so.

I have to totally disagree. The law is the law. Only victim is you when one day your luck runs out and you get skittled. Attitudes like that support the theory of evolution. Disregard of the law like that cause a total lack of respect from other road users and give all cyclists a bad name.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Peacewise » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:59 am

Yagan wrote:
Peacewise wrote:It's a victimless crime.

I estimate that as a bike courier I ran about 100 red lights a day, 5 days a week 48 weeks of the year for 5 years.
So that's about 120,000 red's I ran and I'm still here... and about 120,000 minutes of work I gained.

Seemed to me back then in the 90's that Red lights really just shouldn't apply to bikes, a waste of time for all concerned.

Nowadays I am a touch more respectable and all, obeying the road laws including those pesky red lights... but I'm not a bike courier any more either. If I was, yep I'd still be running red's as safe as houses. Waste of bloody time they are (for cyclists) and I don't mind saying so.

I have to totally disagree. The law is the law. Only victim is you when one day your luck runs out and you get skittled. Attitudes like that support the theory of evolution. Disregard of the law like that cause a total lack of respect from other road users and give all cyclists a bad name.

Fair enough Yagan, but just so you know, it's not luck that stops me getting skittled it's vision and handling.

But for the philosophical debate about "law is the law" or evolution, laws are made by humans and are not immutable and there has been plenty of bad laws over the generations. I recall that "dob in a jew" was a popularly supported law around about 1939, hey the law is the law right?

Evolution supplied me with the survival skills necessary, so my continued survival on the road does support that awesome theory.

As for respect, well some road users respect cyclists, other do not, and back in the 90's I wasn't particularly interested in "respect" from other road users... I had to earn a living and every red light was dollars off my pay check, so you can see "respect" from other road users didn't matter much back then, ya know other things were more important, food, rent, bills - you know that kind of stuff.

Eventually the bike courier companies started paying by the hour, rather than per delivery - this was the most effective action they could have taken to stop or limit bike couriers breaking the road rules.

As for those road users that see a cyclist run a red light and hence decide to disrespect all cyclists - well their reasoning and logic needs some work.
Keep flexing, spinning, rolling, coasting, pushing, pulling, drafting, sprinting, time trialling, touring, climbing, descending, hot dogging, crit-ing, racing, weaving, dodging, dropping, tanking, chasing... but most of all - just keep f'ing riding!
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby waramatt » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:36 pm

Say what you like, but I have found that there is no foolproof method for tripping a red light, regardless of frame composition. I studied an excellent article in a cycling magazine that demonstrated where to place the wheel to guarantee that a light is tripped. It works maybe on 80% of lights that I come across. It appears that not all lights are wired the same way. I've tested this over a long period of time at many sets of lights. From experience, I now know which sets of lights will not be tripped by my bike, and it applies on my carbon bike, alu bike, chromoly steel and hi-ten steel bikes.

Thanks Peacewise. You took the words right out of my mouth. I was thinking Weimar Republic to the argument that you should do something "necause it's the law".
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby trailgumby » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:28 pm

waramatt wrote:Thanks Peacewise. You took the words right out of my mouth. I was thinking Weimar Republic to the argument that you should do something "necause it's the law".

Well, in that case, I'm invoking Godwin's Law.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:30 pm

I was just trying to remember whose law i was thinking of lol.
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby wurtulla wabbit » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:06 pm

More fricken taxes, er, I mean safety fines. I run them if clear and safe.

Load of bollocks !
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby waramatt » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:30 pm

trailgumby wrote:
waramatt wrote:Thanks Peacewise. You took the words right out of my mouth. I was thinking Weimar Republic to the argument that you should do something "necause it's the law".

Well, in that case, I'm invoking Godwin's Law.


I tried to end the thread, so can I plead Quirk's exception?
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Re: Why do cyclists run red lights?

Postby Aushiker » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:27 pm

An interesting post from the other perspective ... related to not using lights but the setimenent is just as valid in this content.

You: White male cyclist, no lights or helmet, riding your bike the wrong way on Alabama near Main, about 9:05 PM on Saturday night.
Me: Driver grateful that I didn't spend last night in a police station, and you didn't spend last night in the hospital or morgue. I hope.

Our eyes met for the fraction of a second before you careened, head-on, past my car. If one of us had swerved- if there had been a large piece of debris in the tiny space in which you were riding (instead of the wide-open lane on the correct side of the road)- if you had a flat, or I had been making a turn, or any of a thousand things- you would most likely be dead, and I would be a killer. Months and years from now, your loved ones would spite my name and beg the judge to throw away the key, and I'd wake up in a cold sweat trying to forget the images of your crushed body.

Maybe you were trying to perform suicide by driver last night. If so, I really hope that you get the help you need.

If you're just a thoughtless son of a bitch who thinks he's immortal- you ain't, and your actions affect more than yourself. As it happens, I'm a cyclist, too. I've been bike commuting to work recently, and having a great time with it. In my conscious mind, I feel very strongly about sharing the road with cyclists. But in that moment, I felt a blinding urge to scream "GET OFF THE ROAD!" What would I have felt if I wasn't a cyclist? What would your death have meant to the future of Houston's cycle paths?

If there's a silver lining to this, it's this: I hear about bike accidents with some frequency, and they scare me. But if a significant percentage of them are the result of people like you, then what am I worried about?


Source: http://houston.craigslist.org/rnr/3185444791.html

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