jon snow

jon snow says he jumps the occasional red light on his bicycle to evade danger.

don't forget he is president of the Cyclist Touring Club and was once engaged to Anna Ford, so his opinion is to be respected.

what make ye of this issue?


  • I just don't get how danger is evaded by jumping a red light. If he could explain that then maybe I could understand.
  • I can't speak for Mr Snow. Speaking for myself, if I can see no danger from traffic coming in the other direction, it helps greatly to get a head start on the traffic backed up behind you. as soon as the light goes green, lorries, cars and buses batter past you and I invariably end up in the gutter or if by miracle I hold my position in the lane, I'm subject to horn tooting, abuse and aggressive driving.

    Put simply, it is to put as much distance between myself and the traffic as possible.

    statistics on the number of cyclists who suffer accidents by obeying the highway code seem to back this up. the number of cyclists who are hit by vehicles at junctions are quite staggering and certainly greater than those injured as a result of jumping red lights.

    that said, it requires the cyclist to only do so when it is clearly safe, which I do.


  • 30 years of cycling and I've never jumped a red light. I'm glad of the rest. 

    I don't commute by bike though. 

  • it depends on the circumstances. I cycle to work at 3.30am when there is hardly any traffic so I can largely ignore the lights.

    the weather also makes a difference. in the rain i'm in no mood to hang around.

    Unless it isn't safe, in which case i'll wait.

    a sensible compromise might be to allow cyclists to go when it is a green man (allowing pedestrians the right of way, of course). this is common in Europe and other bicycle-friendly places and seems to work well.

    In certain German towns they have done away with traffic signs/lights entirely and accidents have reduced.

  • I've never been tooted at for correct road positioning.  And I don't recall ever seeing that.

    But I'm not a commuter either and  I don't cycle in the South East.

  • I'm envious image

    maybe it's a Glasgow thing. it is a very bicycle-unfriendly city. glasgow drivers mean to kill us (cyclists).

    obeying the rules is no guarantee of safety or respect from other road-users, so I employ my own strategy.


  • I've been honked at for assuming a good position on the road.

    I don't have to deal with many red lights on account of being a yokel, but would cheerfully run one if there was nothing about; we have some lights on a local roundabout which serve no useful purpose in the evening and I certainly wouldn't bother to stop and unclip if there were noone about to kill me (or even see me)

    In fact, I'd feel the same if I were driving; I am perfectly capable of giving way to traffic from the right at a roundabout, but pulling out if it's safe to do so; the light is an irrelevance (they're there to manage traffic flow off the motorway to prevent tailbacks onto the carriageway, which is only a problem for around 2 hours a day)

  • crash - that sounds sensible.

    if nothing else, it can help ease congestion and traffic flow. it does motorists no good to be trailing behind me for miles on end because I sat waiting for the green light.

  • I'd jump Dan Snow but that's another conversation entirely.....image

  • *google*

    ah. very dashing.

  • mmm....Screamapillar, I'd jump his bones any day, the man is scrumptious!

  • I remember watching the first Dublin marathon.

    Three hundred yards past the start, there was this big red traffic light.

    Fifteen thousand runners stopped in their tracks.

    I couldn't believe it.

  • Bionic Ironwolf wrote (see)

    mmm....Screamapillar, I'd jump his bones any day, the man is scrumptious!

    There was a spare 20 minutes before "University Challenge" last night. I put "Battle Castle" on. My OH asked why we were watching it - I didn't tell him image

  • I feel I should be creating an alias for this post image but I reguarly jump one particular red light on my daily commute in central Manchester (while the green man pedestrian light is on) because it is far safer to do so - pretty much for the reasons The Dude Abides mentioned.
    It seems that some city drivers see cyclists as the enemy (or a massive inconvenience) and actively try to block us using the advanced cycled stop area at the lights (by pulling into the cycle lane to stop us bypassing the queueing traffic to get to it). I don't know quite why they don't want us getting ahead - jealousy? Worry that we will slow them down? But by not allowing us up to the cycle box, we get mown down by the vast number of the cars that want to turn left. Equally, the other side of the junction, the road narrows dramatically and if I can get that minute ahead, I am out of the way of the traffic following, which squeeze me off the road at the point the road narrows, and onto the cycle path ahead before they are allowed to go.

  • I've never jumped a red light ever But can understand why folks view it as safer and think that depending on the circumstances it is.

    What has always annoyed me is there is a gap for cycles at almost every main traffic light junction in fair Sheffield at great pubic expense that prity much get's igored by most of the driver's in the city and sure it's the same in many places as Frodo say's and it's never dealt with. I've seen cop car's do it and took great pleasure in turning right even through it put me out of my way to do it. image

  • seems to be wanting the penny and the one arguement we want to be treated with respect and for cars to keep off the cycle only areas.................but them we want to be able to ignore the rules of the road.......


  • Seren yep but think thats the same for most of the folks on the road. Doesn't make it right through.

  • If crossing the white line at lights to wait where I'm far more obvious to the cars behind counts as 'jumping the red light' (which I believe technically it does) then yes m'lud, guilty as charged.  However that's a world away from cycling right through at red & continuing on my way, which I don't do unless I find myself at lights that fail to detect a bike and stay at red for me through several cycles (in which case they're broken and it's legal to go through when it's safe to do so).

  • seren - I have given up hoping for or expecting respect from drivers or pedestrians or anyone else.

    This is simply question of self preservation. The highway code as it stands places me greatly at risk. in my opinion.

  • right, i'm off to take my life in my hands on the cycle home. No doubt to be overtaken in the dark (and rain? i can't tell) by impatient black cab drivers, bus drivers and white van drivers, giving me a generous 2 inches clearance as they do, or better still, overtaking then pulling right into the kerb and throwing out the anchors. cheers lads.

  • Dude - as a pedestrian why should I give you respect?  Be aware of you, avoid you -yes, but respect no until you show an equal measure to me.


  • bear - i didn't say you should. or I didn't mean to. sorry it was a reference to a previous posting and not a demand/expectation.

    i try to show respect to all pedestrians by giving them the right of way at all times. but I do not expect anything in return.


  • going through red lights implies no disrespect to pedestrians. or at least i do not intend it to.

  • I'm afraid jumping red lights shows no respect for pedestrians who might be crossing. Road users should obey the rules of the road. Very simple.

  • I don't jump them if there is a pedestrian crossing, or at the crossing, or near the crossing, or visible.


  • if all road users should obey the rules of the road, then why do pedestrians not only cross when there is a green man?

    they don't. they cross when they feel it is safe to do so. i follow that example.


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