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Boris, cyclists, red lights and left turns

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Tuesday 14 April 2009 11.38am
Boris is suggesting that cyclists are to be allowed to legally jump red lights by turning left at corners ahead of that a good idea?
Tuesday 14 April 2009 12.30pm
NO NO NO NO!!!! They should not be aloud to jump the red light. There will be no point in having lights otherwise!
Tuesday 14 April 2009 1.27pm
Jan the old one wrote:
Boris is suggesting that cyclists are to be allowed to legally jump red lights by turning left at corners ahead of traffic...

And this will improve road safety how? - a timeline of future history
Tuesday 14 April 2009 1.47pm
It's not as odd as it may sound.

In some US states, for example, cars are allowed to do this if the road is clear (in their case, it's a right turn, because they drive on the wrong side of the road).

However, the way the US law works (at least in California, when I was there) is that if you choose to take a right (i.e. left for us in the UK) turn when your lights are on red, and you are involved in an accident with someone coming the other way (i.e. somone whose lights are on green), then it is your fault.

I'm OK with cyclists being allowed to do this, IF it is to work as described above in the US. Of course, this would necessitate cyclists having at least 3rd party insurance cover (which I'm generally in favour of anyway). It should also follow that cyclists jumping red lights in any other circumstances should be prepared to suffer a penalty of some sort.

...if you press it, they will come.
Tuesday 14 April 2009 1.56pm
in germany its similar to the US on many junctions in town. instead of a full green on any right turn (read left) its a flashing green which basically means that its good to go but any pedestrian crossing around the corner has right of way.

it can be a bit unnerving as a pedestrian the first few times you encounter a car driving towards you (slowly) while crossing on a green man but you et used to it.

Therein, however, lies the problem. while i think it probably is a good idea, i dont see the sense in having different road management/safety tactics in London than the rest of the UK. Any non-Londoner driver or ped is likely confused by the whole thing.
Tuesday 14 April 2009 3.56pm
This type of system would not work well in a city like London, because of the multitude of types of junctions and road layouts. Is it still a left turn at a junction where two roads cross obliquely? What about where a junction has three or five inlets? I don't think it would be possible to have a blanket rule appropriate for all junctions, and having different rules at different junctions would be dangerously confusing.

There is already an existing system in some places which works well - having a left turn give-way lane. The only example I can think of at a traffic light junction is the A10/Seven Sisters junction, turning left into Seven Sisters from north on the A10, but I'm sure there are more - you get them on roundabouts often. Properly marked/delineated left turn cycle lanes might work?

If there is an accessible footpath then cyclists always have the option of dismounting and walking round the lights...
Tuesday 14 April 2009 9.02pm
I've just started cycling, and it's really hard at junctions, as you can either wait for the green light and hold up the cars if you are going straight on and they want to turn, or you can jump the light and risk a fine.

Cyclists are vulnerable on roads, they aren't the same as bikes and need to be treated as a version of pedestrian.

I remember when I lived in York they fitted a small bike shaped green light, and this gave cyclists a chance to go before the mainlights turned green, that seemed quite good.
Wednesday 15 April 2009 10.45am
But I regularly see cyclists, cars, black cabs and even buses and lorries run the red lights. My family were horrified when they visited me last summer. They're from Cheshire and couldn't believe the driving here. Its a free-for-all anyway so I don't see how legalizing any of it will make a difference.
Wednesday 15 April 2009 11.59am
If you cycle why not hang back one or two vehicles from the front when in a queue, then you won't be bothered by the vehicles behind you wanting to get past. And don't keep overtaking and undertaking then all drivers can see you.

When cyclists undertake or overtake vehicles that are starting to move off, especially if they're indicating left or in a left-turn only lane, they are dicing with death.

In a vehicle, overtaking is the most dangerous manoeuvre legally allowed, and is done rarely. Having no lights, not indicating within traffic, and undertaking, are illegal. These basic principles apply to safe cycling!

(I cycle and drive).
Wednesday 15 April 2009 12.47pm
Colinio wrote:
Having no lights, not indicating within traffic, and undertaking, are illegal. These basic principles apply to safe cycling!

I think you'll find that "undertaking", or passing another vehicle on the inside, is NOT illegal.
However, if an accident occurred while the manoeuvre was being effected the "undertaking" vehicle would probably be seen as the one at fault.
Personally I always drive in the left lane until I come up behind someone driving slower, I then glance in the mirror and if it is safe, indicate, overtake, then move back to the left lane.
On many occasions though, when driving on a three lane carriageway I will find that I am approaching someone driving in the centre lane at 40-45 m.p.h. in a 50 m.p.h. stretch. To overtake this vehicle on the right would necessitate moving from the left to the centre, then to the offside lane, overtaking, then crossing back through the centre to the left lane.
Simpler to just, after careful consideration, stroke the gas and pass the lane hogger on the inside.
If you (not you personally, Colinio) do not wish to be undertaken, just drive in the left lane.
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