Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy
I see what you mean. Lorry and Gory don't rhyme. I wish these guys would get their act together
EDIT: Seriously though, I do realise the importance of road safety campaigns that don't seek to just blame cyclists for traffic incidents.
2011 Orbea Onix | Giant Defy Commuter | Giant XTC 29er
I was going to post a link to more from these guys, but it's been relaced with this
The original content is still viewable on Cycle's fb page.
The only good Cyclist is a Bicyclist
Huge fan of booted RGers who just can't help themselves
Regarding running red lights.... Its not a safety campaign, it is an obedience campaign.
On the ride home from the pub last night I would have gone through at least 10 sets of traffic lights. A bit unlucky as most of them were red. I also went through most of them because the streets were empty. It probably would have taken me 50% longer to get home if I had stopped and waited each light. But really traffic lights are a useless waste of time for quiet streets.
Time spent campaigning for not running red lights is time better spent on things that actually matter for cycling safety.
You can say the same about any road rule for any type of vehicle at some point in time. The point of rules is to ensure predictable behaviour on the roads and avoid the creation of ambiguous or dangerous situations.
If I drive a car through a red light when there's no other traffic, is that OK? How about drive down the wrong side of the road at 2am when there's nobody around? Or go the wrong way around the roundabout? Or drive 60km/h over the speed limit on the freeway when I'm the only vehicle in sight?
All perfectly 'safe' behaviour that is very much illegal for a reason.
Steady there, wellington street, you are running a very strong risk of being perfectly logical and making sense.
Some days you are a big, strutting rooster, some days you are a bit chicken and some days you are just a complete cocque. Roger Ramjet: 2009 Giant CRX3 Spockette: 2009 Trek FX 7.3 (WSD, property of Mrs Monsoon) Lady Penelope: 2011 Avanti Cadent 1.0 TdF
And if you are prepared to rely solely on the "law" to protect you, then God help you...
*If you stopped at the light, looked at the surrounding roads, determined there was no possible traffic incident about to occur, and then proceeded through the red, that would be fine. You do it all the time on intersections without reds. I can't encourage red running, but damn... it's seriously retarded to sit at a light with no possible reason except there is a law that says you should. We aren't depriving others of their rights or freedom by driving through that red.
*You already DO drive down the wrong side of the road if you drive down narrow streets with cars parked on each side of the road. Physically not possible to do anything else in many Australian urban streets. In PEAK HOUR no less. You will adapt your driving style to accommodate this reality.
*Wrong way around the roundabout... you're getting desperate but this isn't going to be a problem if you've checked all exits and entries. The issue really is that most drivers don't take their responsibility to be careful very seriously, and treat the suburban streets like a race track. With such disrespect, it will always seem that driving outside rules is hazardous. It is a shame that driving within the rules, but without any real caution for hazards, is equally dangerous. Next time someone overtakes the Saturday bunch on a blind corner revving at 4-5K rpm, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Overtaking is legal, but sometimes it is not safe... sometimes breaking road rules is safe, but it is never legal.
*Your car, if built after 2010, is designed to safely drive at 170kmh. If it is German built, it is DEFINITELY safe to drive that fast. If you want a sign to tell you how safe you are, then you can expect some very painful lessons about road safety in future. Signs are simply that - it is trying to tell you something, but it can't see the traffic, it can't see the hazards, it can't know what the weather is like, it can't know anything except a guess at a safe speed. Ironically, you drive around enough of NSW, you'll quickly realise that some areas have speed limits that are VERY close to the comfortable limit of a driver, and others that are about 30kmh under. It is arbitrary who decided the speed limit much of the time. Just like the light sequence, the roundabouts, ETC ETC ETC.
Red light means stop but
It can be safe to go through
You are law obsessed
^ I think you are (unintentionally?) agree with me.
My point was that there are many things that can be done safely which are illegal. The whole reason road rules exist is that humans cannot be trusted to make accurate decisions about what is safe and what isn't, particularly when it relies on other humans to make similar decisions.
Running in a red in the middle of the night may well be a victim less crime, or a matter of disobedience rather than safety, but it is socially unacceptable for a reason.
It is also a slippery slope - run a red here, ride down the wrong side of the road there and then it becomes easier to take the next step...until you make an error in your decision making and end up maimed or injured with some poor motorist or other cyclist feeling responsible even thought it was your fault for breaking the law.
More to the point, why do you feel the need to run the red? If there's no vehicles around, the lights change quickly. At what point do you decide it is OK? Is it any red light where you can quickly get across without being hit? Or is it only reds with no vehicles around? What if there's a vehicle behind you that will trigger the lights within 30 seconds, is it OK to run the red then? I'm particularly interested to hear the answers to these questions.
I don't disagree that we, as cyclists and drives, make decisions about gap acceptance and giving way at unsignalised intersections. However, red lights are there to be obeyed, the law doesn't allow you to make your own decision, primarily because while you may think you're capable of making a decision, others have proven themselves unable to.
Finally, cyclists running reds (among other law breaking activities) only hurt their own cause, increasing the issues they - and more importantly OTHERS, yes, not just you but other cyclists cop it - have on the road from motorists with don't like or respect cyclists. Every time a motorist sees you run the red, it entrenches a stereotype and for many motorists it reinforces the opinion that cyclists do not deserve to be on the road. Being a cyclist myself - and interested enough in it to post on this forum - I cannot reconcile the attitude of expecting motorists to obey the road rules to me but then disobeying them when I want to.
Unfortunately, the 'run a red when it's safe and there's no-one around' is not seen by motorists (because they aren't around), what they see is cyclists doing stupid things like running reds in heavy CBD/inner burbs traffic, passing vehicles turning left, riding down the wrong side of the road, turning or going straight from the wrong lane and so on. I see this behaviour EVERY day on my short commute (which is not in a car) so I wonder what car commuters and longer distance commuters must encounter.
I'm that guy who is always trying to educate his car driver friends about cyclists rights on the road and the legitimacy of riding in the lane etc. etc. but how can I explain the behaviour of most of the CBD commuters here? When I look out the window and see morons riding the wrong way down a one-way street into oncoming traffic? Or when my friend is so fired up because moron cyclists are flying across the intersection against the lights as she comes off the freeway and nearly cleans them up? She doesn't want to be the one who hits and kills them.
Take responsibility for your actions, not only for your own safety, but also for you future safety and reputation as a cyclist and that of others.
Is it socially unacceptable? Pedestrians run red lights all the time. Motorists are often seen running early reds. Personally amongst all my friends, peers and colleagues I've never had the impression that ignoring road rules is socially unacceptable. However behaving dangerously on the roads is socially unacceptable to myself most of my peers.
This slipperey slope argument is worse that other ones! Watch out the Netherlands, Colorado and Washington State have legalised that other slippery slope!
I think the bigger point is why feel the need not to. On the evening described I stopped for the red light and it quickly becomes apparent that the only reason it change was to allow that police car to do that U turn. No other car in sight after it complete the U turn and accelerated off, why wait? There didn't seem my point in waiting.
If I waited at every set of lights for 30s on the trip described then it would have taken me twice as long for no apparent gain. My decision is based on a host of factors. Most importantly being is it safe and will it inconvenience or endanger anybody. If the answer to these is YES&NO then I will consider it.
Traffic lights are just as much about traffic flow regulation as they are about safety. If there is almost no traffic they aren't really needed.
I am taking responsibility of my actions.
We come from very different schools of thought. Humans might have bad track records, but the alternative is much worse - you can take away human decision making but that's not freedom. If you honestly didn't think people could be trusted, you wouldn't let them drive a car to start with. You wouldn't let them build an intersection that had conflicting traffic in the first place
Road rules help... they are not infallible, and they are often unenforceable. You put FAR too much trust in them. There is a reason they teach defensive driving to learners - because mistakes happen, even when everyone is trying to do the right thing. You are basing your views on an ASSUMPTION that we could not function without the road rules.
re-reading my previous post, I went off on a bit of a tangent
..and unfortunately that is the way we [as a society] are heading due to the bad track records of human decision making. I don't agree with it but that is way we are going. Why is that happening? Because mistakes happen.
Generally speaking, the road rules provide a fairly robust framework of predictable behaviour in which to work. They are not perfect, and it often 'safe' to break them, but it goes against their main purpose of providing an environment with predictable behaviour.
I don't think they teach you that it's OK to run red lights at any time in defensive driving courses.
I'm not and apologies if my post implied that, as that is misleading.
Outside of your ring of cyclist friends, it would be interesting to see whether there is a social acceptance of cyclists running red lights. I cannot speak for your friends but in my experience it is socially unacceptable.
Yet at the same time it is socially acceptable for pedestrians to do it, providing they don't get in the way of traffic (i.e. treat the red man as 'give way to vehicles').
It is what it is.
I don't understand this response.
Why do I feel the need not to? Because it is against the road rules. That's the default position and if I were to break the road rules, I would need to find justification to do so, not the other way around.
The delay is a factor of any trip, you aren't living on the Nullarbor Plain. If I, as a cyclist and as a driver, treat every set of lights as a 'give way' junction I could save myself a lot of time as well. I don't do it though.
That's correct. I don't believe that means you can just ignore them when it suits you.
Do you then expect motorists to obey the road rules when around you?
My default position while on the roads is to drive and ride in a manner that is safe to myself and others while fullfilling the purpose of my riding-driving of getting to my destination efficiently. I also try to ride and driver in a manner that is polite and respectful to those around me.
Following road rules comes WELL down on the list. But many times meeting my other priorities involve following most road rules.
No. I don't expect them to. If I did I would be dead. I do hope that they behave in a manner that is safe around me.
Personally I'd prefer that more people place driving safely as a priority above driving within the road rules. However sadly this is not the case.
It is because safety is NOT your top priority if you cannot see how going through some reds isn't a risk. You are putting road rules in front of safety, because safety is clearly not guaranteed by the road rules. Mistakes happen, cars and bikes malfunction. I realised today how easy it would be for my tyres or brakes to fail, putting me under a car. There is no law broken by me, or the other driver, but I still die. Safety is IMPROVED by the road rules, but it is not FIXED by the road rules. Ask Oxford what he thinks about the road rules after being rear ended and almost failing to get basic infringement notices applied to the driver. He was completely within the rules and they failed to protect him.
The rules have no flexibility because enforcement becomes impossible. You already assume, wellington, that if someone infringes on your space in traffic that they will be brought to justice. The likelihood is that they will not. Your responsibility is to act safely, which you do... but if you can't see that going through an empty intersection after thoroughly checking all entries and exits has no risk because someone installed a traffic light, then I am concerned for you, because you are displaying the EXACT failure of human decision making that you are trying to attribute to others. Lights don't make intersections safe. Smart drivers do. Lights only help streamline and speed up the process. If you can't make a decision about going through an intersection after stopping and checking for 5 seconds, regardless of the lights, then you shouldn't use the road. Bike or car.
Which reminds me of getting in a taxi. Takes off, straight through three red lights!!! Gets to the fourth light, it's green, and he *stops*.
"WT? are you doing?", I ask
"Gotta be careful, my brother might be coming the other way!!"
2013 Scott CR1 Premium - Ultegra Di2 compact.
I never said that it was risky or unsafe. In fact I said the opposite (ref post 6).
I just don't agree with the attitude that it is OK to break the road rules for no other reason than because I don't want to be delayed for a few seconds.
That's quite interesting. Because I just don't agree with the attitude that it is BAD to break the road rules for no other reason than because it is against the law.
While I don't agree with your attitude, I have no objection to you holding it. I just wish that you could be as tolerant towards me.
Wellington_street, it's ok, some people just don't and won't listen. Then they will try pick at your posts and make x suddenly mean y. It's no use trying to argue with these people.
"I'll just save some time here on my commute". That's the same mentality of the motorists that don't bother waiting behind a cyclist until it is safe to pass.
Xplora, I don't see why you got Oxford into this seeing as he is against cyclists running red lights...
Because some forum members have extremely bad experiences despite doing the right thing and obeying the rules... and we need as many people as possible being concerned about safety, more than rules. I can legitimately hospitalise a pedestrian who walks in front of my bike on most road areas. Is this the best move? Wouldn't safer speeds be better?
Rules are only guidelines. Wellington makes a reasonable point, but it has been shown to be incorrect. The red issue is NOT a few seconds, and it impacts on no one. The close shaved cyclists issue IS a few seconds, and it can kill people. I'll let you decide if this is reasonable to compare them.
And I agree that it is a totally wrong to risk somebodies safety to save time on your commute. But this is simply another strawman argument.
I believe it was me, who said that "My default position while on the roads is to drive and ride in a manner that is safe to myself and others".
But bad stuff can happen to you whether you break the rules or not. It's not that because someone was following rules that they were in higher danger?
Of course it is safety first. Safety is of utmost important. If you need to run a red, jump onto the footpath or go on the wrong side of the road because your life is in danger then so be it. That's a good enough reason. Breaking rules for other reasons is different to breaking rules because your life is in danger.
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