For a number of months I have been debating the morality of riding through red lights on by bike in London. Laws that I feel compelled to obey when riding my moped or driving a car do not seem required when I am on my bike.
After some thought -It strikes me that red light running should be allowed for two groups of reasons:
1) Cyclists when driving sensibly have significantly better road awareness and require red lights less than car drivers
2) Anything that makes cycling more attractive is a good thing. Running red lights makes cycling faster, easier and less dangerous and should therefore be encouraged
To validate the first point, consider the following:
The Improved road awareness of cyclist makes red lights unecessary - cyclists can see if it is not safe to cross a road. (N.B - under my proposal cyclists would not have priority over oncoming traffic if they had gone through a red light). It is safer for three obvious reasons:
- Cyclists sit about two feet higher than car drivers - the height of visibility is considerable better than a Range Rover driver.
- Cyclists can hear what is going on a round them.
- Cyclists have full peripheral vision
Cyclist naturally filter to the front of traffic queues yet have the slowest acceleration. Surely it makes sense for them to be allowed to leave lights early to get some speed and distance between them and the nearest car.
The good news is that I am not the only one - Wayne Laugesen has a great article on the topic at http://www.scaab.bikeaddict.com/shopping_page.html.