(Note: this is an illustration only. God does not kill kittens. I’ve asked Her and She said She’d never do such a thing)
The Theory: The Real Reason Why Some Bicycle Riders Run Red Lights
The reason why some cyclists run red lights has little or practically nothing to do with the individuals moral fiber, intellectual ability or capacity to distinguish between basic concepts of right and wrong.
The act of cycling requires physical effort to keep momentum, starting and stopping requires more so.
Driving a car requires a certain skill base, but not fitness. To accelerate a vehicle mostly requires putting the foot down on the accelerator pedal.
Traffic signals and road management systems are designed with that fact in mind: a total emphasis upon petrol-powered transport, not human powered mobility.
Many cyclists prefer to keep a steady momentum and in all likelihood, don’t even consider red lights as something they should seriously pay attention to.
Put simply, some cyclists (like some car drivers and many humans in general) behave like automatons with little regard to all the “moral crises” generated about red light breaking lycra lizards and black-clad inner city trendies that regularly pop up in the more excitable sections of mainstream media.
Another point; the actual issue probably isn’t about simplistically pigeon-holing people via their mode of transport at all. It’s more to do with how people interact with technology. Some people get it, some people avoid it, some people can’t be stuffed and some people shouldn’t ever be allowed on the roads, regardless of transport mode choice. But lets not delve off into subtexts about law & order issues right now …
Although there’s no excuse for being ignorant about common sense, responsibility, safety issues and the road rules, but the conflict that (to me) that is consistently ignored is expecting human powered mobility to be compliant to automated traffic signals that are most of the time, were never designed to accommodate their requirements.
Not forgetting, traffic engineers & advocates are now looking at different traffic signalling, such as advanced starts, bike lanterns (City of Yarra) and awareness raising infrastructure, such as the Green Wave (see below), although more R&D is required for this to be cost-effective for mass implementation.
But I’ d be far from the first to admit that a Nice Cup of Calm the Fuck Down wouldn’t go astray either, whenever the topic is raised.