Why do cyclists run red lights?

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.

Andrew
 

rusky

CC Addict
Location
Hove
You could argue that if a bike doesn't trigger the traffic lights, they are faulty therefore you can legally RLJ.
 

Dan_h

Well-Known Member
Location
Reading, UK
If the light is red and they go through....who's at fault when an accident happens.
If you are still talking about peds the law is the same as if you hit a pedestrian anywhere in your car. The fact that there was a red light for the pedestrian is not relevant as it is only advisory and the fact that the car had a green light does not mean you can go no matter what, running pedestrians down is not allowed even if the light is green and you really feel like it!
 

MissTillyFlop

Evil communist dictator, lover of gerbils & Pope.
My driving instructor once said that green did not mean go, it meant "proceed with caution", which surprised me at the time (first lessonitis)

I guess jaywalking isn't a crime here, so legally the onus would be in the driver - but what happens if a pedestrian steps right in front of a vehicle giving no opportunity for the driver/cyclist to stop? Surely the pedestrian must take the blame there?
 
I guess jaywalking isn't a crime here, so legally the onus would be in the driver - but what happens if a pedestrian steps right in front of a vehicle giving no opportunity for the driver/cyclist to stop? Surely the pedestrian must take the blame there?
Totally agree, everyone who uses, crosses the road had a responsibility for their own safety & others. So if someone walks out in front of a car then surly you can't blame the driver. But as mentioned before a driver at a free light can't just plough someone down of they haven't finished crossing.
 

172traindriver

Legendary Member
Went to London today, was on Oxrord St, Mrs was in Debenhams, I am outside taking in the weather and watching vast array of London cycle types passing by on bikes.
Anyway traffic lights at particular part of Oxford St turn to red, fancy high powered Met Police car stops at red lights.
Female cyclist approaches passes stopped police car and just continues through red light.
Police vehicle doesn't chase after it.
Just another day in london?????
 
Went to London today, was on Oxrord St, Mrs was in Debenhams, I am outside taking in the weather and watching vast array of London cycle types passing by on bikes.
Anyway traffic lights at particular part of Oxford St turn to red, fancy high powered Met Police car stops at red lights.
Female cyclist approaches passes stopped police car and just continues through red light.
Police vehicle doesn't chase after it.
Just another day in london?????
See that all the time!
 
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