A Cyclist’s Lament

Bike riders ignoring red lights – I’ve whinged about this before. How can bike riders expect car drivers to respect our right to be on the road if they see cyclists ignoring red lights? Or breaking any road rule for that matter.

The red light running is annoying me so much now that I’ve taken to shouting out at cyclists who ride through them – puffing permitting. I’m getting grumpier in my old age.

How hard is it to stop at a red light? Will your day really be ruined by stopping for a minute or so? Is getting a head start or pedalling through really worth risking your life for? I just don’t understand the mentality.

It’s not hard. Look, here are some riders doing the right thing below.

Riders stopped at a traffic light on St Kilda Rd

Riders stopped at a traffic light on St Kilda Rd

I ride 13km to work every day into the city in Melbourne along St Kilda Rd – the main thoroughfare for riders heading into the CBD from the south with a dedicated lane – and am amazed by the red light runners. St Kilda Rd is also extremely busy with traffic.

The other day I was stopped at a red light at a pedestrian crossing and a woman on a road bike went racing past. The pedestrians had passed and the crossing was clear but it was still a red light. She obviously thought road rules didn’t apply to her.

I shouted after her “red light rider!” About a hundred metres further up the road she had to stop at another red light at an intersection. So she certainly didn’t save herself any time by not stopping at the pedestrian crossing. When I stopped beside her I turned and said “you know you went through a red light back there”. And her response was “it’s a great conversation starter”. I was dumbfounded. No “yeah I didn’t see it in time”, or “oops, thanks for letting me know”. She saw it was a red light and wilfully decided she was going to ride through it. Where’s a traffic cop when you need them?

Unfortunately I wasn’t quick witted enough to say something like “yeah, pretty stupid way to start a conversation”, or “yeah, pretty good way to get yourself hit by a car”, or “yeah, thanks for giving bike riders a bad reputation by breaking the road rules”. I just shook my head, looked at the road ahead and then pedalled on when the lights turned green.

Sigh.

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