Cycling in Melbourne Australia
Just looking for a gauge on this site as for the general view on whether it's OK for us to go through red lights? I know it's illegal and all... but I see so many peeps ride straight through pedestrian crossings and smaller intersections without a care for that. I'm concerned we all get tarred with the same law-breaker brush. Should I only be concerned for my own safety (a la the arguments on whether to wear a helmet or not) or comply with road rules. Interested in the cycling community's thoughts.
I had a run in with another cyclist last week about this issue. I was riding up St Kilda road about 7am and this guy about 50yo rode through a red light. He was a slower rider on a hybrid so I caught up to him before the next lights and again he rode through the red. Then he did it on a pedestrian crossing. The next one he had to stop because of cars and I said to him "you know you give all cyclists a bad name riding through red lights". He turned around and started abusing me telling me to f**k off etc and saying he was "a smart man" (in thick Eastern European accent).
Then when I got to Flinders St another cyclist ran the red down Flinders across my path and I nearly collected him. Couldn't believe it.
So no I don't run red lights for two reasons:
1. It's illegal and potentially dangerous
2. It gives the bike hating motorists legitimate and indefensible ammunition against us.
1. Cyclists have a bad reputation because of the bigotry of lazy bastards in cars and lazier bastards in official office.
2. As I say frequently, traffic lights are a motoring solution for a motoring problem. Our cities have been fucked up by cars and the undemocratic hectoring of government by the car industry.
3. Any cyclist who runs a red light is breaking the law and will be fined the same as a motorist who does it.
Lets stop being apologists for the most dangerous activity you can do without leaving the ground (motoring) and start being pro bicycle.
Exactly Cameron. You've given me some strength.
If we are to share the road with cars and they with cyclists I expect as a when i am cycling on the road i try to do it in a manner that when i am driving I expect cyclists should behave so we should obey the rules in regards to red lights and Helmet laws as well, (personally I feel wearing of a helmrt off road should be optional and compulsory for those under 15 years though).
I agree with the sentiment that our cycling actions are on display and you need to do your "best"... however, I often wonder if it really matters.
I mean, when has setting a good example as a motorist ever lead to others following your example or appreciating your fine work? I frequently set the cruise on the speed limit and get overtaken by like, a million cars (yes my speedo is accurate)!
The majority of people (law obiding citizens?) will generally do whatever they know they can get away with. My excuse on a bicycle will always be... I won't break any law on any day, where I don't see a motorist do it first. Not a good attitude, but lets face it, on the streets of Melbourne, anything goes. I've seen less competition on race tracks.
I've been through the same thought process myself.
My 2c is that as an easily, and much maligned road user category, we are more of a target for people pointing the finger.
In my experience, people just don't say 'all motorists'. But they do say 'all cyclists'.
There are categories of motorists that DO get the finger pointed at them (drivers of yellow cars with green/yellow checked stripes, and SUVs come to mind) - again, because they're easily identifiable amongst the amorphic mess.
Is it just me, or have taxi drivers improved in the last few years?
Maybe I have just become used to them..
I find the number of cyclists who jump red lights in Docklands on Harbour Esplanade quite disconcerting. This is so visible to both motorists and pedestrians and contributes to giving cyclists a bad name. It would not cost anyone anything to just stop at the red lights.
That said, my wife has, while driving, nearly been hit twice this week by motorists jumping red. Purely subjectively, the number of motorists jumping red lights seems to be on the increase.