Road safety: The traffic-light statistic that has cyclists seeing red

  • @susborne

The pointless war of the roads between cyclists ("Lycra louts") and motorists ("murderers") has flared again, ignoring the fact they are generally the same people.

This time, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), a road safety charity, has given ammunition to bike haters by muddying a "poll" (online survey) with the misleading headline: "More than half of cyclists jump red lights."

IAM revealed when pressed that just 2 per cent of only 1,600 respondents confessed to regular light-jumping, 12 per cent did it sometimes, 25 per cent rarely and 19 per cent once or twice.

This came too late for some media outlets, who regurgitated the first figure, boosting the image, that will now remain online, of cyclists as regular rule-breakers asking for trouble.

The real revelation (if there were one) was that many cyclists jump red lights due to dangerous road design, and drivers who invade the cyclists' boxes at the head of many junctions. I frequently jump red lights, if I endanger no other road users, if it's a choice between that or waiting in the shadow of a revving lorry.

What IAM should have done is taken the opportunity, as it has done before, to highlight flaws in road safety so that it might be improved. What we should all do in the meantime, is obey the code more often and call a truce so that dodgy stats aren't abused in the first place.