The Sunday Independent yesterday claimed that “Two-thirds of cyclists don’t stop at red lights” but the image used — at least online — shows a different story:
While the caption above reads: “a woman evades a cyclist breaking a red light at College Green, the photograph actually shows:
- A large An Post truck blocking the pedestrian crossing (clearly illegal)
- A jaywalking* pedestrian between the crossing and the stop line (possibly illegal)
- And a cyclists still behind the stop line (clearly not illegal)
In the below image we have highlighted and enlarged the white crossing and stop line and have coloured in the crossing in red — this is the only place in the photo shown that pedestrian are allowed to cross, but it’s also not supposed to be blocked by trucks.
The cyclist is behind the white stop line (the green area). The cyclist could be track-standing, or he could be about to put his foot on the ground, or he could be about to cross the already blocked crossing on red with no pedestrians using it — from one static image we just don’t know.
However, it’s clear the image does not show what the Sunday Independent claims, the cyclists is not “breaking a red light” in the photograph:
If the newspaper got the above so wrong, how can we trust its statistics about cyclists breaking red lights? And under a half hour at one junction at one time of the day is not enough to get a decent picture of the problem of cyclists breaking lights — but their “two-thirds of cyclists don’t stop at red lights” stat is likely to be repeated elsewhere.
Regardless of any of the above, the poor treatment of pedestrian crossings by many cyclists is inexcusable, but the image showing a truck blocking a crossing highlights the lack of respect for crossing goes far beyond cyclists and so treating the issue as a cyclist-only issue misses at least half or more of the problem. My experience around Dublin city centre pushing my son in a pram for six months (before putting putting him on a bike) was that cyclists were annoying and sometimes dangerous — but a far larger problem was cars, vans and trucks blocking crossings, often while moving.
When using a pram often loaded with your child and shopping you get a mild understanding what it might be like for those using wheelchairs and people with other mobility issues which force them to use the confines of often narrow crossings, with little time given to cross, and infringements common by cyclists and motorists. I would not like to be old or disabled in Dublin or most of Ireland.
* = The offence commonly known as ‘jaywalking’ is covered by Irish law within 15 metres of a crossing — within 15 meters pedestrians are only allowed to cross between the two white lines that make the crossing. The jaywalking in this case may be fully excusable due to the truck blocking the crossing, it’s still . More on that here.