Sometimes I think my morning commute replicates the Tortoise and the Hare story. Me being the tortoise, and the impatient cyclist being the Hare. I’m talking about cyclists who jump red lights. This morning I found myself playing a game of catch up with someone who clearly interpreted a red light as green. Obviously he was desperate to get to the office quickly, god only knows why! Anyhow, it turned out that this sneaky manoeuvre made no difference, I still managed to catch up with him a couple of junctions later, a little more smug than normal. The scene looked a little like this:
It made me wonder whether it was worth being a ‘red jumper’. My boyfriend doesn't condemn this cunning cycle tactic and I'm sure when I'm not in his company he shoots through those red lights frequently. I can see why cyclists do it, especially if they are familiar with the traffic light sequence. However, is it worth taking the risk? The consequence of a misjudgement can be fatal.
|A 'Red Jumper' contemplating a time to nip across the busy junction|
So let's outline the positives. The positives are that you get to speed ahead of the traffic and not be left behind amongst the hot cars with choking exhausts. You also don't get caught up amongst the HGV's and white vans revving up as soon as the light hits green.
This still isn't enough for me to skip the red light. In my book (Jemma's amazing cycle book of knowledge), I prefer to abide by the rules of the Highway code and patiently wait for the green light. After all, I don't want car drivers to shun me and add my actions down to the long list of #whytheyhatecyclists.
So there we have it. I have now exposed inner sensible self and can confess that I am 'by the book', a square, law-abiding..... Some have called me in the past 'SAFETY QUEEN'
In the name of safety queen, I promise to never skip a red-light, even if I am the only person on the road or the entire planet because SAFETY comes first.
Seriously though and safety aside, is this something cyclists should be allowed to do?...