Proposed changes to the highway code which would allow cyclists to turn left at red lights are unlikely to happen, says Roads Minister
Most cyclists' deaths and serious injuries happen to include bikes and heavy vehicles in the same bit of the road. Especially dangerous areas are those around traffic lights, where cyclists can be crushed in blind spots by lorries turning.
I've been to "naughty cyclists clubs" - in order to avoid a caution and fine for going through a red light - where the local police teach you where to position yourself near to a lorry and how to avoid these blinds spots. Moreover, I'm also aware that some large vehicle drivers have gone through this teaching process.
But, why not avoid this problem - if not altogether, then in a considerable way - by not making cyclists wait for the lights to change alongside trucks and buses?
This is the argument behind a revolutionary measure introduced in Paris last February. The action allows cyclists to turn right (remember, they drive on the other side) or go straight ahead, even when a traffic light is on red, as long as they give way to pedestrians, and traffic coming from the left.
Would this proposal could go ahead in the UK? No, or at least not yet. Road Minister Mike Penning has told MPs the government would consider changes to traffic light rules, but no alterations are imminent.
According to what he explained to the House of Commons Transport Committee, changing the rules for cyclists could result in motorists and other drivers attempting to follow their lead.
Now, seriously, what a patronising statement. As a cyclist I see many other riders going through red lights constantly - and, admittedly, occasionally putting themselves and others at risks - but I've never seen a car or a motorbike follow them because they thought there was a free for all.
He added "The reason that traffic light regulations have not dramatically changed over the years is that they do what it says on the tin, by keeping the roads safe."
To put it in another way, if a law works for some, there is no need to improve it. I wonder why we have moved on from slavery or the gallows. They also "do what it says on the tin."
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24 October 2012, 11:52AM
As a pedestrian I am fed up to the back teeth with cycist going through red lights, on several occasions I have nearly been knocked down by a cyclist while crossing a pedestrian crossing when the green man is showing. Another pet peeve is cyclists cycling across pedestrain crossings, the solution to both problems is simple. Get off the bike and push it! If the light is red and a lorry is next to you, get off the bike take it onto the pavement and push it past the crossing, then get back on the road, simple. Next time a cyclist runs through a red light when I am trying to cross the road, he's getting shoved off his/her bike! P.S. I am a cyclist too and always obey the road laws.
B Penny, Cambridge
29 March 2013, 09:10PM
While waiting in traffic near Addenbrooks recently, for entertainment I decided to count how many cyclists did not have lights, it was approx 70%.
John Griffin describes deaths and serious injuries among London cyclists as inevitable and mainly the fault of untrained riders.
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