Azara Blog: Cyclists allegedly break the rules because of safety

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Date published: 2008/06/28

The BBC says:

Cyclists break the law and ride anti-socially because the Highway Code rules are set against them, a national cyclists' organisation has claimed.

CTC says cyclists flout some of the rules, such as turning left on a red light, as it helps them to stay safe.

It has called for the code to be re-written to protect cyclists.

More nonsense from the cycling lobby. Unfortunately the BBC regularly publishes what amounts to press releases from middle class special interest pressure groups without bothering to provide any criticial analysis. (But the BBC is ever so middle class, which is why they do this.) It is patently obvious (certainly in Cambridge, the cycling capitol of Britain) that cyclists do not flout rules because of safety, they flout them because of convenience.

For example, most of Sidney Street in Cambridge is one-way, but many cyclists regularly ride up it the wrong way (and it's quite dangerous to pedestrians and other cyclists and vehicles going the correct way). They do this because otherwise they would have to cycle a few more meters up Trinity Street and Market Street.

As another, less dangerous, example of the same thing, it seems that technically cycling up Senate House Passage is illegal (and pathetic policemen occasionally try to enforce this since they obviously have nothing better to do with their lives). But there is probably not a cyclist in the city who would not cycle up this. Again, the alternative is to cycle a few more meters via Trinity Lane.

As another example, some traffic lights are vehicle activated. You can cycle up to these lights and literally nothing happens until the next vehicle happens to pull up. It's pretty obvious that if that is going to be a wait, most cyclists will use common sense and run the red light.

As a final example, the left turn from Milton Road onto Gilbert Road has a traffic light, and often you have to wait an extra half a minute because some pedestrian has stopped traffic to cross the road. It makes sense to cut the corner on your bike, which involves cycling on the (very wide) pavement for 20 feet or so. (Alternatively you could turn left on red.)

None of these are for reasons of safety, and to pretend otherwise is totally dishonest. It is just to get where you want to go faster. Politicians and bureaucrats haven't a clue how real transport users behave (cyclists or drivers) and when some lobby intentionally misleads like this it does not help.

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