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).
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.