Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

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brynpoeth
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby brynpoeth » 15 Aug 2018, 6:16pm

661-Pete wrote:I'm curious as to how the gender of the OP seems to be determined....I don't suppose any 'Swiss Vets'* are involved?

*This is very much an in-joke, memories of Cycling+ days!

I use she instead of s/he, one could use "it" or "they" maybe

I am used to ladies being in charge, not laddies, grew up under the Iron Lady, now Chairperson May is in control :wink:
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott

Phil Fouracre
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby Phil Fouracre » 15 Aug 2018, 7:42pm

I thought that there were multiple genders nowadays? :-)
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

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661-Pete
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby 661-Pete » 15 Aug 2018, 7:45pm

Perhaps we should post on this forum in Turkish - or Hungarian - or Japanese. None of these languages have gender-specific pronouns.

Alas, I can't oblige. And the Mods wouldn't be happy! Once I got a post on the Grauniad moderated off, because although it was in English, I'd written it in Cyrillic characters (for a joke). Too much for them, they told me in an E-mail!
Pete

Et qui rit des curés d'Oc?/De Meuse raines, houp! de cloques./De quelles loques ce turque coin./Et ne d'anes ni rennes,/Ecuries des curés d'Oc. - Louis d'Antin

jgurney
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby jgurney » 15 Aug 2018, 7:49pm

661-Pete wrote:I'm curious as to how the gender of the OP seems to be determined.


I'd thought probably a woman simply because 'Chaddy' was the nickname of a deputy headmistress in an Agatha Christie novel.

brynpoeth
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby brynpoeth » 15 Aug 2018, 8:29pm

Thread drift..

Several Senior Members (of either gender) of these fora mention that they are married but their partners are apparently not members

Is spending a lot of time on the fora a good recipe for domestic bliss? What do the partners do the while? Are they on other fora chatting about cooking or cats or motoring?
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott

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661-Pete
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Nothing to do with Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby 661-Pete » 16 Aug 2018, 6:38pm

In answer to that - yes. Mrs P spends a fair amount of time on a site called H2G2 (the name is short for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) in which many topics are discussed, largely of a literary nature. Her username on there bears no relation to mine on here, so don't go searching!

At least we use separate computers so we're not always chasing each other off!

I have other pursuits besides cycling, and some of my time is spent elsewhere. However I seem to have a nasty habit of flouncing off forums when things go a bit pear-shaped. It hasn't happened here - yet! :roll:
Pete

Et qui rit des curés d'Oc?/De Meuse raines, houp! de cloques./De quelles loques ce turque coin./Et ne d'anes ni rennes,/Ecuries des curés d'Oc. - Louis d'Antin

basingstoke123
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby basingstoke123 » 17 Aug 2018, 10:34pm

Ben@Forest wrote:Is there any empirical research or study on cyclists RLJing? And does it occur more frequently in some places than others? (I don't mean where there are more red lights!)

I very rarely see cyclists do it though it annoys me when l see cyclists slip onto the pavement, ride across the pedestrian crossing then slip back onto the road.

Very occasionally l go through red lights at roadworks but only after vainly trying to make the sensor 'read me' and actually change to green. There is a single carriageway lights controlled bridge not far from me where if a car parks close to the bridge at one end no amount of flailing about will make make it change for a cyclist at the other. So you have to run the red.


And some normal road junctions have problems detecting cyclists. At one time, I would have tried to somehow trigger the the lights. I now have a zero tolerance, and if the lights have failed, they don't get a second chance, and I go through on red (which is legal, if the lights are faulty). The dilemma is how long you wait. Many lights now omit 'unneeded' phases, so if the lights go through a whole sequence but leave yours out, then those lights are faulty. and its not just your impatience making 10 seconds feels light 5 minutes in the freezing rain.

In some cases, vehicles joining behind will trigger earlier sensors, and the lights will then change. Other times, they don't. Yon then have to decide how long you hold up the traffic, to make it obvious that the lights are at fault when you do eventually go on. If you go too soon, the drivers behind will just assume you are another RLJ'ing cyclist.

What you should also do is to report the problem to the Highways Authority. I used to.

drossall
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby drossall » 18 Aug 2018, 8:55am

As you may well know, lying your bike on the ground over the sensor often works (especially if it contains enough steel). Sometimes, though, I've found that I'm over the sensor, so the motorist behind isn't, and hence we both end up waiting indefinitely. Motorists get very confused when you beckon them forwards, or offer to swap places, because many people, understandably, don't stop to think how lights know that you are there!

I have read that the problem is a calibration error by the person who set up the lights. I'm not absolutely sure whether that's true, and it seems that they need to be recalibrated from time to time.

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meic
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby meic » 18 Aug 2018, 8:57am

As you may well know, lying your bike on the ground over the sensor often works

Is that really a reasonable expectation of what cyclists should do to avoid upsetting motorists by passing a red light?
Yma o Hyd

Herts Audax
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby Herts Audax » 18 Aug 2018, 9:03am

I see @chaddy has flounced off through a red light and driven down the pavement whilst looking at the forum on their phone.

drossall
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby drossall » 18 Aug 2018, 9:40am

meic wrote:Is that really a reasonable expectation of what cyclists should do to avoid upsetting motorists by passing a red light?

No, of course not. But when it's 11pm and you want to get home, it may be preferable to waiting indefinitely, and it's an alternative to just going through a red light. Can also be useful if you don't want the queue of motorists behind you (that I described) to watch you riding through red.

I have seen it argued that a traffic light that fails to change in this way, in a reasonable time, is an illegal obstruction of the highway. I'm not sure whether there's any case law to say whether a prosecution would succeed if that were the reason for riding through. Of course, you could walk through, arguing that a cyclist pushing a bike is a pedestrian; whilst there's legal opinion supporting that idea, extending it as a way of "jumping" red lights has traditionally been regarded as pushing your luck legally, but again, I'm not sure whether there's any case law. I'm pretty sure it's not covered explicitly in primary legislation or regulations, but someone who knows more will no doubt be along to correct me.

kwackers
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby kwackers » 18 Aug 2018, 12:33pm

Ben@Forest wrote:I very rarely see cyclists do it though it annoys me when l see cyclists slip onto the pavement, ride across the pedestrian crossing then slip back onto the road.

Why?

What if the junction is designed to allow you to do that? There are a couple I use for eample this one (in that view the painted bike looks a bit worn but it's since been repainted).
In use it's quite simple, come down the hill if the light's on red, hop onto the pavement around the corner and back off. All perfectly legal and provided for by the man and tbh I find it very useful.

But say they haven't painted a bike on but it's a toucan crossing and you nip through the crossing?
I use one just like that, every time because the alternative is navigating a complex junction and switching several lanes of heavy traffic. You're obviously expected to use it because as well as the toucans there's a shared path that cuts out several sets of lights and gets you to the other side but the only other way to use it involves mounting the pavement at some point by simply using one of the pedestrian ramps and then riding a couple of hundred yards on a pavement which bizarrely isn't marked dual use.

Truth is the whole thing is a mess, just like shared paths. What you're expected to do varies from one light or path to the next and what is frowned upon in one place is legalised in another.
It's all very well complaining about cyclists RLJ'ing but when you have a system that's not consistent, designed for motorised vehicles with an expected high average speed and is fundamentally more dangerous for vulnerable users than if it were left as a simple non-light controlled junction then RLJ'ing isn't going to go away.

FWIW I obey red lights, but I'm not above using facilities such as the one above or trying to second guess the expected use of less obvious junctions nor am I above dismounting and walking the bike through (we've already had case law were a pedestrian pushing a bike is a legally a pedestrian so I have no qualms about doing that).

basingstoke123
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby basingstoke123 » 18 Aug 2018, 1:27pm

drossall wrote:
meic wrote:Is that really a reasonable expectation of what cyclists should do to avoid upsetting motorists by passing a red light?

No, of course not. But when it's 11pm and you want to get home, it may be preferable to waiting indefinitely, and it's an alternative to just going through a red light. Can also be useful if you don't want the queue of motorists behind you (that I described) to watch you riding through red.

I have seen it argued that a traffic light that fails to change in this way, in a reasonable time, is an illegal obstruction of the highway. I'm not sure whether there's any case law to say whether a prosecution would succeed if that were the reason for riding through. Of course, you could walk through, arguing that a cyclist pushing a bike is a pedestrian; whilst there's legal opinion supporting that idea, extending it as a way of "jumping" red lights has traditionally been regarded as pushing your luck legally, but again, I'm not sure whether there's any case law. I'm pretty sure it's not covered explicitly in primary legislation or regulations, but someone who knows more will no doubt be along to correct me.


According to the Highway Code, Rule 176, "If the traffic lights are not working, treat the situation as you would an unmarked junction and proceed with great care."
https://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/road-junctions.html

So, proceed with care. Cycling will usually be safer than walking, if only because you would clear the junction much faster than when pushing a bike.

I have reported faulty lights to the police (on the non-emergency number) on various occasions, and it's never been suggested that I was in the wrong to have proceed through a red light (especially if I was holding up a queue of traffic). Most times they have been quite uninterested, and suggest you should report it to the Highways Authority. (In Hampshire, don't bother, it will be a waste of time and effort, unless you are willing to spend many months dealing with it. 6 months to fix the problem would be exceptionally fast).

The benefit of reporting it to the police is they will have a record, so in the very unlikely event you did get stopped going through a red light, then at least, there is some record of problems.

If you have a queue behind, they will realise that the lights have failed to detect you, and when you eventually go through the red light, they will probably follow.

I suspect that in some cases, the problem is not with the final sensor at the lights, but that you missed earlier sensors, and the final one doesn't do anything if triggered on its own? It's only used to detect that the last vehicle has past? But this is just a guess. (I know that at some lights, the earlier sensors do not trigger the lights, but are used to extend the green time).


kwackers wrote:...
But say they haven't painted a bike on but it's a toucan crossing and you nip through the crossing?
I use one just like that, every time because the alternative is navigating a complex junction and switching several lanes of heavy traffic. You're obviously expected to use it because as well as the toucans there's a shared path that cuts out several sets of lights and gets you to the other side but the only other way to use it involves mounting the pavement at some point by simply using one of the pedestrian ramps and then riding a couple of hundred yards on a pavement which bizarrely isn't marked dual use.

Truth is the whole thing is a mess, just like shared paths. What you're expected to do varies from one light or path to the next and what is frowned upon in one place is legalised in another.
It's all very well complaining about cyclists RLJ'ing but when you have a system that's not consistent, designed for motorised vehicles with an expected high average speed and is fundamentally more dangerous for vulnerable users than if it were left as a simple non-light controlled junction then RLJ'ing isn't going to go away.
...


In my experience, most cycle 'facilities' increase the number of waits. A typical 4 way traffic lights, the cycle path has 2 stops to go straight across, and 4 to turn right (compared with 1 in both cases, if on on the carriageway).

Yes, its a mess.

thirdcrank
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Aug 2018, 1:51pm

I suspect that in some cases, the problem is not with the final sensor at the lights, but that you missed earlier sensors, and the final one doesn't do anything if triggered on its own? It's only used to detect that the last vehicle has past? But this is just a guess. (I know that at some lights, the earlier sensors do not trigger the lights, but are used to extend the green time).


I don't keep up-to-date with the guidance for this type of thing any more but once upon a time, the standard arrangement was that there were three sets of sensors on the approach to lights, identifiable as chevrons in the road surface. Only the first to be crossed - ie the furthest from the lights - detected a passing vehicle and registered a "call" on the lights. The other two simply confirmed that the vehicle had continued to approach the lights. From a cyclist's POV, this meant that if you rode towards the edge of the road, the lights would never know you were there. All the things like lying the bike down only worked on the first sensor. When this problem was identified in the context of policies promoting cycling, the advice was to add a sensor where cyclists would be likely to cross it, but this was only being done at new lights or when existing systems were altered.


Re the sensitivity of lights, I've had all sorts of garbage from highwaymen making excuses but whenever I've spoken to technical people at the suppliers etc, they've always said that adjusting them to detect a pedal cycle should present no difficulty. Somebody once explained to me that the most difficult vehicle to detect was something like an army lorry with the wheels set wide and the body high.

basingstoke123
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Re: Cyclists ignoring traffic lights

Postby basingstoke123 » 18 Aug 2018, 7:01pm

thirdcrank wrote:
I suspect that in some cases, the problem is not with the final sensor at the lights, but that you missed earlier sensors, and the final one doesn't do anything if triggered on its own? It's only used to detect that the last vehicle has past? But this is just a guess. (I know that at some lights, the earlier sensors do not trigger the lights, but are used to extend the green time).


I don't keep up-to-date with the guidance for this type of thing any more but once upon a time, the standard arrangement was that there were three sets of sensors on the approach to lights, identifiable as chevrons in the road surface. Only the first to be crossed - ie the furthest from the lights - detected a passing vehicle and registered a "call" on the lights. The other two simply confirmed that the vehicle had continued to approach the lights. From a cyclist's POV, this meant that if you rode towards the edge of the road, the lights would never know you were there. All the things like lying the bike down only worked on the first sensor. When this problem was identified in the context of policies promoting cycling, the advice was to add a sensor where cyclists would be likely to cross it, but this was only being done at new lights or when existing systems were altered.


Re the sensitivity of lights, I've had all sorts of garbage from highwaymen making excuses but whenever I've spoken to technical people at the suppliers etc, they've always said that adjusting them to detect a pedal cycle should present no difficulty. Somebody once explained to me that the most difficult vehicle to detect was something like an army lorry with the wheels set wide and the body high.

Thanks for this. It explains a lot! So, the problem is not sensitivity but bad logic. Hence why adjusting the sensitivity often doesn't solve the problem. Junctions which have caused most problems are where, when cycling, you naturally only cross the final loop detector.

At one junction which had problems, the road widened into 2 lanes some distance before the lights, starting as the road did a sharp left turn. So, more cautious cyclists will leave changing lanes until late, while faster cyclists will cut the corner and take a straight line to the right lane stop. In both cases, you will miss the earlier loops on the right lane!

An above ground sensor was eventually added. That took so long, I vowed not to report any more problems. (I made an exception, when the sensor was removed following road works. Only took 4 or 5 months to get it reinstated, which for Hampshire is exceedingly fast).

I'm presuming the traffic light controller (or at lest, that one) can only have one detector loop as the trigger (to 'call'), so could not cope with the need to trigger on both the first and final loops. However, it could cope if a second type of sensor was added to supplement the loops.

I would have expected (or perhaps not) that a Highways department should realise that an apparent sensitivity problem may have other causes.

Re sensitivity: I hard exactly the same from a colleague at a previous company, who had previously designed traffic lights (design, not installing).