As Family Guy’s Peter Griffin might say, it really grinds my gears. No, I’m not talking about road grime in my bike chain. I’m talking about cyclists who ride through red lights. I don’t understand why some bike riders believe that road rules don’t apply to them. We’re on the road, we want to be respected by car drivers, so we have to abide by the rules. Simple. I can’t believe that cyclists can be in such a hurry to get somewhere that they can’t stop for a minute or so at a red light. Why wouldn’t you? Use the time for a rest, have a look around at your surroundings, fiddle with your brake levers, relax for a moment from concentrating on the road and have a daydream. It’s not that hard.
I used to run the occasional red light. But I don’t anymore after getting knocked off my bike in Sydney by a car when going through one. While it sounds bad, I actually count myself extremely lucky as it was a small car that hit me and it wasn’t going very fast. I escaped with just a scratch on my ankle. In fact I did more damage to the car than it did to me. But the accident was my fault and I had to pay for the damage. It was an expensive lesson.
Ever since then I’ve always stopped at red lights when out riding. Even when it’s obvious there’s no traffic around. While obeying road rules may not convince every driver that cyclists have a right to be on the roads, at least by doing so it gives them less opportunity to whinge about us. And that’s what makes me cross when another cyclist peddles past me at a red light. They’re giving drivers a reason to complain and to tar us all as irresponsible road users who shouldn’t be allowed on the road.