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Seeing red: why cyclists ride through traffic lights

From “The Conversation”You’ve probably seen it happen. You’re driving your car and you come to a stop at the traffic lights. You’re mindful of traffic infringement fines and public safety, then someone on a bike rides past you, unconcerned, straight through the red lights.

Riding through red lights is arguably the most hated cyclist behaviour – but why does it happen? Are cyclists just recalcitrant law breakers? Is the answer to fine every cyclist who rides through every red light? Or is there a bigger picture?

We conducted a national survey – the results of which were published in Accident Analysis and Prevention earlier this year – in which 2,061 cyclists were asked the following question:

When you are riding do you stop at red lights?

The majority (63%) said yes, while over a third (37%) said they had ridden through a red light at some time when they were riding.

What follows are the main reasons given by those who had ridden through a red light.