Stop at Red

This is the second of the video’s in the Respect: Stop at Red campaign. The first is How to trigger the traffic lights with your bike.

Again, feedback would be appreciated.


17 thoughts on “Stop at Red

  1. Malcolm

    Exactly the same thing as in the last “bad” scenario happened to me today at the Constable St/Riddiford St intersection. Some idiot on a bike going through the red light as I was turning right on the green. I called him a dickhead and then overtook him. It was great.


  2. My feeling is that this is a bit of a band-aid on New Zealand’s poor overall road training. I reckon it’s not cyclists who behave badly, it’s people.

    Pretty much everyone on the road – including pedestrians – behaves carelessly, recklessly or lawlessly at some point. That’s not about which means of transportation they’re using that day, that’s about their attitude to road safety in general.

    I’d like to see seriously good road training for everyone (a la Germany, is it?). Right from primary school would be ideal, but we could really leverage off driver licencing. The government has something the learner driver wants (the licence) and this is a great opportunity to instil top quality road skills.


  3. atom

    this is a perfect example of motor vehicle laws being forced onto non-motorized vehicles. that’s bad enough, but to see CAN behind it is discouraging. they should be using their resources to lobby for idaho stop laws that make it explicitly legal to go through red lights and stop signs WHEN IT’S SAFE TO DO SO (implicitly, this means that if it’s not safe, it’s not legal). the research points out that this increases safety. “stop on red” may seem like good manners, but for bicycles it’s bad policy and bad law.

    Bicycle injuries 14.5% lower a year after the “Idaho Stop Law”

    Benefits of the Idaho Stop law

    of course we all know that pedestrians in NZ would never cross against the light, especially not with small children. right?

    and motorists in wellington, whose respect we are collectively pleading for with this campaign, certainly stop for red lights…

    maybe motorists in AKL are better?

    maybe motorists only do that when they see cyclists?

    i don’t want to frame this as “us vs them”, but why is there such hatred for cyclists who run red lights? as a group, we certainly don’t have a monopoly on disregard of traffic signals. maybe after every other jurisdiction in the world implements idaho stop laws NZ will figure it out…? in the meantime we can all pretend that we live in glass houses, while the pots and kettles call each other black.


    1. Gilbert Sanseau

      But CAN is in favour of the Idaho Stop Law. It will just take a long time and a lot of lobbying/explaining. I did mention it when doing the CAW oral submission to WCC about their budget, as I got a question from a councillor about “cyclists running red lights”.
      During the inquest into death of Steve Fitzgerald, the Coroner again asked a question regarding “cyclists running red lights”. When I talk with motorists about this, what I feel is a big frustration on their side. Imagine burning $2 a litre petrol at a red light and seeing this very bike you just passed 100 metres ago running the red light and thus reaching the CBD much earlier than you do. And they won’t even pay for parking! And tonight it will be the same all over again! No wonder you then have “interesting” comments on
      There’s a general election later this year, maybe it’s time to just mention that Idaho Stop Law to parties and candidates.
      Also, when in France they started doing this kind of things, a usual comment from motorists was “the road code should be the same for everyone”, obliterating the fact that nothing is further from truth (some roads are forbidden for some vehicles – trucks, dangerous goods, cycles). Actually, the road code should be about catering for each kind of vehicle differently (like trucks have lower speed limits). Usually, it’s the same people that pretend they should be allowed to drive faster because their car is “safer” than average.


  4. Hillbilly MTB

    Its an unsettling feeling that apparent road to cycling civility appears to be regulation and control. Its also sad to think that the “idiots” amongst us, and I have include myself here, are a catalyst for disrespect.
    That said I have NEVER displayed anything like the scenarios depicted, for me its not a question of stopping at red lights its avoiding the potential for collision, abuse, or generally giving cyclists a bad name.
    New Zealanders relationship with the car and the right to be free to drive them is sacred and becomes exasperated in congested cities – Hell thats half the reason I ride in town – to avoid the frustration of wasting $2 of petrol sitting alone in a car, in a street full cars paying for no where to go.


  5. atom

    i understand that CAN doesn’t take sides on the helmet issue BECAUSE the issue is divisive and emotional among cyclists. that makes it especially weird that they’re putting a stake in the ground and saying “going through red lights is bad”. sure, sometimes it’s bad… and sometimes it’s not.

    if a cyclist is putting themselves or others in danger, GIVE THEM A TICKET! but let’s educate ourselves (and motorists!) that it is safe for cyclists to treat a stop sign as a give-way, and treat a red light as a stop sign. since 1982 idaho has been a laboratory for just such a law and their results have been entirely positive. i’d really like to see CAN push for idaho stop laws in NZ… but in the meantime, i really don’t understand why they’re backing an issue that’s so divisive among cyclists.


    Idaho Stop Law – FAQ


    1. Simon Kennett

      I’m a big fan of the Idaho Stop law – would love to see it become law in NZ. However, until that happens, I think this campaign has merit, because riding through a red is illegal and generates disrespect for cyclists.

      The campaign may work at two levels:
      1 – it might make more cyclists stop at read (leading to greater respect for cyclists)
      2 – it might make roading authorities view CAN with greater respect (helping give CAN the traction needed to lobby effectively for all sorts of things, like a helmet law review or an Idaho Stop law).


  6. Bullitt

    That video makes things look very black and white, its either you stop at a lighr or you go through a full pace and take out a pedestrian/car with no grey inbetween

    I’ve never gone through a 4 way intersection on a red but sometimes I will in other circumstances where it makes it safer.

    For example the cable st chaffers lights that feature in that video. If I come up to that slowly and there are no pedestrians I can go through far to the left where theres no danger of cars coming from chafer running me over. This allows me to change lanes to go down Kent terrace. Far safer that trying to take off at the same time as the cars and do the same thing.


  7. Lesley

    I’m at risk of repeating myself here: but anyway…..

    This is like a women’s group making a video criticising women who wear short skirts for encouraging sexual assault.


    1. I was uncertain about that statement at first, but the more I think about it the more I see the element of blaming the victim come to the fore. I do appreciate the lights triggers for bikes at intersections, but there is definitely a case for an IDAHO law.

      The difficulty, I think, is that bikes are classed as vehicles and go on the road. This leads to a perception that bikes are like cars. People on bikes have more in common with pedestrians than with motorised vehicles, but are still not pedestrians.

      In my view, bikes really need to be categorised as being their own class. Understanding what bikes are will make it easier for planners, engineers and policy-makers to design for them on a real-world basis.


    2. Simon Kennett

      Except that wearing short short skirts is legal and riding through a red light is not. If we had an Idaho Stop law, then that metaphor would work me, but we don’t.


      1. atom

        this depends on jurisdiction. there are parts of the world where shirt skirts (“short” being subjective; in some places it means exposing the ankles) are illegal, and if the wearer gets raped, beaten and/or killed… well, it’s legally her own fault. case closed. does such a violation of law in that case invalidate the assertion that a rape victim is still a victim?

        cyclists waiting at red lights are certainly not the same league of “injustice”, but nonetheless our laws could use a re-write.

        my big concern is that within 5-10 years we’ll be on the verge of actually getting an idaho stop law, and the resistance to it will be that “it causes confusion”, and the motoring opponents will point to CAN’s “stop on red” campaign. how long did it take for NZ to change the wacky give-law laws? they won’t take effect until next year, but the #1 argument against the change is that “it causes confusion”. CAN is playing right into it by creating tomorrow’s confusion, today. when an idaho stop law is being debated in parliament, that’s when this “stop on red” thing will really bite us in the ass. that’s the real reason why i hope the campaign dies quickly and quietly.


    3. Hilleke

      I have to agree with Simon here. Despite that being a very unpleasant comparison to make, the law requires us to stop at red lights. Currently with no exceptions.

      As I understand it CAN does have plans that involve the Idaho Stop Law, the helmet issue, etc. But until we can shut down that argument that keeps cropping up from ‘anti-cyclists’ that “cyclists always go through red lights” (which we all know to be a pretty dim argument, as motorists also go through red lights, cyclists don’t cause any damage, it’s safer, etc etc etc)… but… it seems to be a punctuation point for any type of sensible discussion on cycling funding, improvement, or law change. So remove that argument and maybe we can make some real headway in improving facilities for all cyclists.

      Sometimes you have to give a little to receive anything.


  8. Edward

    With my ‘cyclist’ hat on here, and not my (occasional) driver’s hat; why not lets just obey the laws and build respect with motorists instead of pointing the finger? Is the minute or two gained by jumping lights really going to make much difference? We all know that calm people turn into different beasts behind the wheel when triggered by something they object to in another road user (me included!), reducing these triggers makes sense to me.


    1. atom

      sometimes i wonder what pisses-off motorists more… when bicyclists jump red lights and roll through stop signs… or when they’re “stuck” behind a bicyclist who’s waiting at a red light or coming to a full stop at a stop sign.

      not that this would justify doing anything unsafe or illegal… but sometimes just being on a bike, on THEIR road, is objectionable to motorists. of course they’d also hate the person who has the audacity to be in front of them in a car, truck or bus… but if it’s a bike then they can really spew anger and hatred (and rev their engine aggressively on their way to the next red light, where they’ll be met by the same bicyclist).


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