Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

simonhill
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Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby simonhill » 8 Nov 2015, 12:53pm

I'm in Korea at the moment and virtually to a man/woman all pedestrians dutifully wait at the lights to cross the road. They wait, often for quite a while for the little green man. Personally I find it quite frustrating to wait when the road is clear, but peer pressure means that I normally wait as well.

It got me thinking. Anytime cycling is mentioned in the UK, the red light thing is almost always mentioned. You never hear people complaining about pedestrians 'jumping the lights'. I wonder why.

Not only do most pedestrians in the UK jump the lights, they usually press the button first so after they have gone the traffic has to stop.

Maybe a campaign to make the media, drivers, politicians, etc aware how pedestrians are the worst light jumpers may take a bit of the tediously repetitive pressure off us cyclists. After all, not many people are cyclists, but virtually everyone is a pedestrian at some time or other.

beardy
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby beardy » 8 Nov 2015, 1:14pm

No one should complain about pedestrians, they are doing nothing wrong!

Many of the arguments that cyclists raise for not obeying the lights are actually true for pedestrians, with the exception that pedestrians are generally given somewhere safe to wait unlike cyclists when the cars are going past them.

The crossing are there to stop the cars when you can not find a break in the traffic flow, if a break appears then no compulsion to wait for a red light to stop the (non-existent) cars unlike the legal restriction on vehicles to obey such lights.
The stupid buttons have to be pressed regardless because they only put you on the waiting list and it can easily be five minutes before they deliver on that push of the button and if you get away sooner than that, it detects it and cancels your reservation instantly.

Another (pretty irrelevant) issue is that pedestrian crossings often dont allow a whole crossing in one go, which does mean that there is some refuge half way across so pedestrian RLJs only have to look one way between refuges which is easier than crossing the two ways for cyclists.

TonyR
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby TonyR » 8 Nov 2015, 1:25pm

Perhaps its because pedestrian lights are for guidance only. There is no legal requirement for a pedestrian to wait on a red light unlike cyclists and drivers.

NigelCliffe
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby NigelCliffe » 8 Nov 2015, 5:44pm

TonyR wrote:Perhaps its because pedestrian lights are for guidance only. There is no legal requirement for a pedestrian to wait on a red light unlike cyclists and drivers.


Some red cycle lights are advisory. The advisory ones are often found at crossings from cycle paths/routes over main roads, typically shared with a pedestrian.

Traffic lights are compulsory for cycles.

- Nigel

Mark1978
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby Mark1978 » 8 Nov 2015, 6:11pm

Most lights these days are programmed to wait for a gap in traffic before they go red. Therefore it's invariably true that I'm already across by the time they change as if there is no gap in the traffic they just don't change. Makes you wonder why they are there.

TonyR
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby TonyR » 8 Nov 2015, 6:13pm

Mark1978 wrote:Most lights these days are programmed to wait for a gap in traffic before they go red. Therefore it's invariably true that I'm already across by the time they change as if there is no gap in the traffic they just don't change. Makes you wonder why they are there.


And some have placebo buttons that you can press to get a Wait light but which make no difference whatsoever to the timing or sequence of changes.

beardy
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby beardy » 8 Nov 2015, 6:16pm

Mark1978 wrote:Most lights these days are programmed to wait for a gap in traffic before they go red. Therefore it's invariably true that I'm already across by the time they change as if there is no gap in the traffic they just don't change. Makes you wonder why they are there.

They are there for those who are less agile than you or I. Plenty of such crossing places need an ability to do 10 metre sprints.

kwackers
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby kwackers » 8 Nov 2015, 6:57pm

beardy wrote:
Mark1978 wrote:Most lights these days are programmed to wait for a gap in traffic before they go red. Therefore it's invariably true that I'm already across by the time they change as if there is no gap in the traffic they just don't change. Makes you wonder why they are there.

They are there for those who are less agile than you or I. Plenty of such crossing places need an ability to do 10 metre sprints.

There are a number of crossings near me that I've given up pressing the button on. If the traffic is busy you can wait minutes, when it's less busy the lights wait for a suitable gap, but by the time they change you've already spotted the gap and crossed and the traffic approaching still has to stop even though you're no longer there.
Easier to just wait for a gap yourself.

I miss zebra crossings. Unless it's a stupidly busy pedestrian area zebra's are a win win for both peds and drivers.

Mark1978
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby Mark1978 » 8 Nov 2015, 7:12pm

Zebras are only really good for low speed areas. As drivers are bad at stopping even for red lights

simonhill
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby simonhill » 9 Nov 2015, 12:39am

Interesting that everyone has picked up on stand alone crossings, I meant the lights that are part of a road junction system. This is where pedestrians mix with all other traffic so you could argue that obeying the lights is more important.

Vehicles (including bikes) have to dutifully wait at their red then proceed when it is their turn. Pedestrians usually wend their way through as and when they like. As I said this doesn't happen here in Korea or in a number of other countries I have cycle toured in, including even the more anarchic Australia.

My point was just that pedestrians routinely ignore their lights and are never criticised for it. I know it is not illegal, but it is often dangerous and against the rules of the Highway Code.

I regularly have to wait for the pedestrian light cycle after someone has pushed the button and then cross on red. The other one is just as your lights change a pedestrian walks in front of you delaying your departure.

It's no big deal, but pedestrians are never criticised and cyclists are. That was my point.

Of course we have no jaywalking laws in the UK so good old anarchy rules.

Pete Owens
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby Pete Owens » 9 Nov 2015, 1:18am

Mark1978 wrote:Zebras are only really good for low speed areas. As drivers are bad at stopping even for red lights

Zebras have a superior safety record precisely because the different road users are looking for each other rather than for coloured lights 3m above the ground.
The only reason the highwaymen prefer lights is to maintain priority of motors for most of the time - it has nothing whatever to do with safety.

Mark1978
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby Mark1978 » 9 Nov 2015, 9:08am

Pete Owens wrote:
Mark1978 wrote:Zebras are only really good for low speed areas. As drivers are bad at stopping even for red lights

Zebras have a superior safety record precisely because the different road users are looking for each other rather than for coloured lights 3m above the ground.
The only reason the highwaymen prefer lights is to maintain priority of motors for most of the time - it has nothing whatever to do with safety.


Perhaps, perhaps. But in my experience drivers seem much more prepared to look at you and drive straight across anyway rather than giving way, more than they are prepared to go through a red light.

Phil Fouracre
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby Phil Fouracre » 9 Nov 2015, 9:23am

Why should anyone complain about pedestrians? Surely they should always have priority. Only insane car centric societies have jaywalking laws! Priority should always be to design road layouts to make people to look out for each other. That's what some new designs are doing now, removing distracting instructional signs, and mixing different modes of transport. Long may this trend continue.
Just as a complete aside, leaving local Tesco a couple of days ago, took up primary as I approached road junction. Old guy trying to cross in front of me, grinned at him, and waited, waved his sticks as a thank you. Promptly got blasted by car behind me, ah well, we've still got a long way to go :-)
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

beardy
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby beardy » 9 Nov 2015, 9:28am

Interesting that everyone has picked up on stand alone crossings, I meant the lights that are part of a road junction system.


I wasnt and I dont think that the others were either. I think that is just your reading of what was said.
Though the two are often inseparable. I was thinking of two road junctions in the town centre and on what should be the main pedestrian routes to train/bus station and major supermarket.
What the planners have done is send the cars straight through with a very favourable traffic light system or a traffic roundabout, while pedestrians have to endure two or three separate lane crossings all with very unfavourable light systems (even being given a red light on one phase when no car traffic can pass just because it is less programming for the light's controls). The pedestrians at the roundabout have long barricaded detours with multiple "stand alone" crossings away from the road they were using.

kwackers
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Re: Crossing on Red. No One Complains About Pedestrians

Postby kwackers » 9 Nov 2015, 11:41am

simonhill wrote:Of course we have no jaywalking laws in the UK so good old anarchy rules.

Jaywalking is an invention of the motoring lobbies as a way of shifting blame from drivers to their victims.
It was specifically created to deal with the backlash to an ever growing number of casualties caused by the new fangled motorised horses, a backlash that threatened their sales...

It's a very successful invention mind, almost everyone believes it's the duty of peds to stay out of the way of car drivers - even the woman who tried to run me over on the car park at Ikea on Saturday thought she had absolute right of way and by not hurrying out of her path I was being in some way negligent and therefore deserved to be run over...