Dangerous traffic lights

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Marcus Aurelius
Posts: 1636
Joined: 1 Feb 2018, 10:20am

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 9 Oct 2020, 7:53pm

It sounds like the timing is sub optimal. Get the hammer down as soon as you get the green, job jobbed. But seriously, that isn’t really on, they’ve not thought it through.

Pebble
Posts: 352
Joined: 7 Jun 2020, 11:59pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby Pebble » 9 Oct 2020, 11:41pm

iandusud wrote:Quote: "Also if we were to increase this time period it may result in a higher risk of drivers jumping the red as they become impatient."

So let's get this clear, the council think the right thing to do is to accommodate law breaking reckless drivers rather than set the intergreen period to one that is reasonable for law abiding road users. I just wanted to be sure I'd understood what they are saying. It might be worth pointing this out to them, your local councillor and MP. It's like saying we don't want to set a lower speed limit on a section of road that needs it for safety reasons, because it might encourage people to break the law by speeding. You couldn't make it up!


In the gov publication that provides the rules for fixed traffic lights it often considers the drivers willingness to break the law with comments such as
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... pter-6.pdf

"but equally a period that is too long
leads to delay, frustration and disobedience",

"The delays are usually unacceptable and the resulting frustration
may encourage drivers to disobey the signals".

"It lacks the clarity provided by pedestrian signals,
and can increase delays to vehicles and driver disobedience".


Just astonishing that they are willing to sacrifice the safety of more vulnerable road users over the need not to slow down drivers too much

nirakaro
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Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby nirakaro » 10 Oct 2020, 3:16pm

I've often seen drivers 'amber-gambling' – going over a light that's just turning red. I've never seen anyone stopped at a red light who then gets impatient and sets off before it's turned to red-and-amber, which is what they seem to be anticipating. Seems highly implausible.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Oct 2020, 3:35pm

Plenty of people anticipate green by setting off at RED + AMBER. Bearing in mind that that phase dates from the time when setting off took some preparation, it seems redundant now.

fastpedaller
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Location: Norfolk

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby fastpedaller » 10 Oct 2020, 3:42pm

Many years ago a cyclist clubmate was caught out by a quick-changing light which he entered on green and it left him stranded at the centre 'island' when the crossing traffic started. Obviously. preferring not to get knocked down he waited in the 'safe' region until the lights changed again and completed his passage. A mile further on a Police car intercepted him and he was charged and fined for jumping a light.

tatanab
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Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby tatanab » 10 Oct 2020, 3:46pm

nirakaro wrote:I've never seen anyone stopped at a red light who then gets impatient and sets off before it's turned to red-and-amber, which is what they seem to be anticipating. Seems highly implausible.

I saw one only a few weeks ago. I expect the driver was watching the lights on the crossing road, and seeing they had gone to red assumed green would appear on their side. Not so. This is a set of lights where only one of 4 directions gets a green at any one time. Probably a stranger to the area and anticipated the green.

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby Cyril Haearn » 10 Oct 2020, 3:56pm

nirakaro wrote:I've often seen drivers 'amber-gambling' – going over a light that's just turning red. I've never seen anyone stopped at a red light who then gets impatient and sets off before it's turned to red-and-amber, which is what they seem to be anticipating. Seems highly implausible.

I often observe that, creeping forward before green appears, many try to avoid stopping, very few use the handbrake
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DaveReading
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Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby DaveReading » 10 Oct 2020, 5:15pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:I often observe that, creeping forward before green appears, many try to avoid stopping, very few use the handbrake

Like cyclists do. :D

It's actually quite rare to see a car that's stopped at a red light having its handbrake on.

DevonDamo
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Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby DevonDamo » 10 Oct 2020, 6:03pm

DaveReading wrote:It's actually quite rare to see a car that's stopped at a red light having its handbrake on.


True. It''s a clear indicator of someone who doesn't know what they're doing. It's safer and better on your clutch to go handbrake/neutral, but even if you're an anti-social boy-racer preparing to burn rubber as soon as you get the first whiff of amber, it still makes more sense to use the handbrake. That frees up your right foot from the brake pedal to be ready and waiting on the accelerator pedal. (I'm not advocating the latter behaviour - but it's very noticeable that the people you see creeping forward on their clutch whilst waiting for the lights to change will always fail to pull away swiftly when their chance finally comes.)

I'd be interested to hear if anyone has actually been successful in getting pedestrian crossing sequences changed. There's one on my regular bike route which drives me mad. This road feeds onto a roundabout and there's a sequence whereby drivers on this road get the green, then the roundabout traffic sees green, then another road feeding onto the roundabout sees green, then the roundabout sees green again and finally drivers on the first road see green again. This means drivers on this road only get the green light once in every 4 sequence changes. This should mean the pedestrian crossing should be showing a green man throughout 3 of every 4 sequence changes, but it doesn't - it only illuminates during one of the sequences. This means everyone who uses this crossing has learned to ignore the signal and instead decide when to cross based on what the traffic on the road is doing. It's just a matter of time before someone gets it wrong and is knocked down.

simonhill
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Location: Essex

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby simonhill » 10 Oct 2020, 6:25pm

Nowadays many cars shut down their engines at a red light. Observing this from a bike, I think that each one starting up again delays the flow of traffic often by a few seconds per car. Not much individually, but it means less cars get through on green, which cumulatively must slow down the overall flow of traffic.

With the current almost total lack of policing I regularly see cars going through on 'early red', ie just after they have changed. This is fast becoming the norm. One consequence of it is that you cannot now safely pull away when your light goes green till you have double checked for these late transgressors.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby [XAP]Bob » 11 Oct 2020, 9:17am

Erm... aren’t cyclist by definition vehicles as well... so their assertion that the timing is based on vehicular speeds is bunk.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

thirdcrank
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Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby thirdcrank » 11 Oct 2020, 10:15am

To be thread-to-needle, a green light does not mean GO.

Pebble
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Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby Pebble » 11 Oct 2020, 10:17am

[XAP]Bob wrote:Erm... aren’t cyclist by definition vehicles as well... so their assertion that the timing is based on vehicular speeds is bunk.

I would have thought it was a given that we are talking about 'motorised vehicles'

Traffic light timings are clearly designed around the speeds of motorised vehicles, the problem in giving enough time for cyclists is that car and van drivers will get impatient and break the law. The problem should be dealt with through large fines and penalty points rather than knowingly risking the lives of cyclists.

thirdcrank wrote:To be thread-to-needle, a green light does not mean GO.

And that is very true too, Green just means you can go when the road is clear and it is safe to do so. If you can see a slow moving HGV that has not made it through the restricted section you are not allowed to crash into it, and equally you should not crash or aim your vehicle at any cyclist who has also not made it through. Although with the latter some drivers think they have a free shot lined up.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby [XAP]Bob » 11 Oct 2020, 1:51pm

Yes - but the design of traffic lights should be for all vehicles.

If you stop at green because you know you won’t make it across the junction then you are going to get rear ended.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Dangerous traffic lights

Postby thirdcrank » 11 Oct 2020, 2:12pm

Not for the first time, I'll say that IMO, highway authorities should be responsible for the enforcement of traffic management including traffic lights. It's absurd that planning the traffic control at a junction like this should involve making assumptions that the law will often be ignored. Enforcing traffic lights by the evidence of eye-witnesses is as good as impossible, even if the police hadn't largely given up on traffic offences. The camera technology is immeasurably more effective, but is little used because police forces have no incentive to do so.

This could be taken out of the criminal justice system in much the same way as yellow line parking, bus lanes etc. There's no need for every set of lights to have cameras, just the possibility that many do. Cameras could be rotated between locations and the fixed penalties could be retained by the highway authorities to pay for it all. All the "cash cow" jibes would fall on deaf ears.

It could be sold to law-abiding road users on the basis that it would help reduce delays at junctions, once greater compliance had been achieved.

It would need licence endorsements to be applied administratively.