Comment: Why stopping for reds is worth every second

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Any cyclist who’s given it a moment’s thought won’t need to be told why 
skipping reds doesn’t help matters.

So long as a substantial proportion of cyclists are seen jumping lights, the argument that they do – however beside the point – will always distract from efforts to make road conditions safer. Besides, sometimes good things 
happen at traffic lights. Last week, the two most memorable moments on my rides home from the office both 
happened while stopped on a red.

One of these involved a roadworker challenging me to hold an uphill track stand until the temporary lights turned green. Only after several minutes of chat, did he cheekily disclose that he was manually controlling the three-way signal. When he did eventually twitch the switch, I pedalled away not just with the burn of lactic acid in my legs, but also the warmth that comes from a random encounter with a stranger.

The other highlight at the lights was similarly interactive, and likewise friendly, coming immediately after watching a black cab sail straight through a solid, long-since-changed red.

Not quite believing what I’d just seen, I turned around and shared a look of astonishment with the driver waiting behind me. Also at the wheel of a taxi, he expressed equal disbelief – a timely reminder, I felt, that we never should never jump to prejudices about any type of road user, however tempting.

This article was first published in the December 5 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!