What is your traffic light strategy?

What do you do when you’re coming up to a red traffic light? Do you just stop where you are? Do you work your way to the front of the traffic? Do you track stand to be ready when the light turns green? Do you race through orange lights or stop?

I wanted to share my traffic light strategy with you guys and hear more about what you do when confronted by the dreaded red light.

cyclists at red light

Red light battle plan

My red traffic light strategy puts great military strategists like Napoleon Bonaparte to shame. In fact if it was me versus Lance Armstrong on a busy central London road riddled with traffic lights then it is these tactics that would make all the difference. Without further ado here is my top secret, well refined, red light strategy:

Plan A: Approach as slow as a turtle and attack as fast as a tiger

If you see a red light up ahead then try and time your arrival at the light just as it turns green. This means you don’t grind to a complete halt and keep some of the forward momentum.

Plan B: “Some rules can be bent, others can be broken” Matrix

Is London Cyclist going to suggest jumping red lights? Me, never, ever! I don’t make a habit of jumping red lights but what I do tend to do is stop in front of the light. This is usually because there is no advanced stop lines or if there is a car is helpfully parked in it. I only do this if there is another traffic light across the road I can look at to see when it turns green. 

This gives you a couple of valuable seconds clearance on other road users.

Plan C: Yoda say: Bike gears, you must use

If I know I will have to come to a stop because it is a long light then I tend to flick down a gear before stopping to give myself a bit of a quicker and easier start.

Plan D: Timing is everything

After riding a certain route a few times you get to know the timings of the lights. For example on my old route back from work I knew that if I’m caught by a certain light I’ll be caught by the next two. So I always put in a bit of rapid pedalling.

Plan E: Use disguises to your advantage

So you’re at a light that helps pedestrians cross the road. Jump off the bike and what are you? You are a pedestrian. Wheel the bike across and hop back on. No harm done and you’re on your way home.

Plan F: Orange means go

If I know I can make it through a light while it is still on orange I go for it.

Plan G: Wiggle your way to the front

I always weave my way to the front of traffic so that when the light turns green I’m there waiting for it. This requires good, careful cycling so as not to knock off any mirrors or hit any fellow cyclists. Often I find a gap on the other side of the road (again only if it is safe to do so).

Your strategies?

Which of these tactics do you tend to use? Do you have any of your own you would share? Have you mastered the art of track standing?

Image by: Stringberd

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54 Responses to What is your traffic light strategy?

  1. George 17/12/2009 at 10:35 am #

    All sensible tips I think. Like you I don’t go through whatever a red lights is protecting other than by a couple of yards to get ahead of traffic. I do however notice that “really quite fancying a couple of minutes rest” is the perfect mechanism for ensuring that the light in front of you is green.

  2. VvV 17/12/2009 at 11:13 am #

    Get to the front and fight for your right to use the green painted zone which is reserved for us! Good on those cyclists I have seen questioning the SUV’s and Cabbies who take it as there’s. It’s there for a reason. I personally get to the front of the traffic and plant my bike square in front of the vehicle in the left hand lane – that way he must see me and can’t say otherwise. Learnt the hard way after a bus lane hogging doctor (off-duty) ploughed into me as we pulled away from some lights.

  3. Charles Edward 17/12/2009 at 11:18 am #

    I stop and wait my turn…

    but then I am a considerate white van driver who also happens to ride a vintage bicycle. Try smiling at your fellow travellers while you wait, works wonders.

  4. purpaboo 17/12/2009 at 11:26 am #

    Same strategy!

    Just add the occasional “trundle through at pedestrian speed” on some reds where there’s no pedestrians at all.

    :-)

  5. Tacitus 17/12/2009 at 11:26 am #

    Generally I respect red lights, except for when I’m turning left, and it’s clear.

    As for the approach I always make my way to the front.

  6. phil 17/12/2009 at 11:30 am #

    Plan C and E. Got tohave the easy gear for a quick get away. and got to ge tup front and be visible . Gettign up front is what makes it all worth it, as you push fwd leaving behin dall the cars stuck in traffic until you reach the front of the pack.

    lights were onyl optional on some parts of my old route when i was in aberdeen, but now living in Reading its all about following the highway codebecause Red seems optional for the first coupel fo seconds for motorists here so bets to play it safe.

  7. Mark 17/12/2009 at 11:44 am #

    Re: Plan B, I understand it’s difficult to endorse cycling through red lights, although most experienced cyclist commuters will tell you that waiting at a red light can actually be dangerous. Pulling away from the lights along with all the accelerating cars is a dangerous operation, and possibly creates more danger than the act of cycling through the red light.

    Sure, experienced cyclists ought to be able to pull away fast as a tiger (Plan A) well ahead of accelerating cars, what about inexperienced cyclists who don’t have the burst power or confidence to do so? And while it’s true that inexperienced cyclists might increase their risk by jumping red lights, why not make it optional rather than legislating against the entire cycling community?

    One of the quickest, easiest, cheapest (it’s free) legal measures that can be taken immediately is to allow cyclists to turn left at red lights, provided they give way to all other vehicles or pedestrians who have the right of way. Part of Boris Johnson’s 2008 mayoral campaign was to allow cyclists to turn left at red lights. Earlier this year, he wrote a letter to the DfT outlining his plan, but he never submitted a formal proposal to change the left-on-red law for cyclist. It’s a shame, really.

    Don’t forget that traffic lights were invented to aid traffic and pedestrian flow, not to increase safety. Since cycling through them does not affect traffic / pedestrian flow, the original reason does not apply to bikes. Some councils are starting to change the rules to accommodate bikes. In Hackney, cyclists are allowed to go both ways on one-way roads. Other councils are already considering allowing this and it is already common in Europe.

    In Copenhagen, quite possibly the ideal urban cycling environment, there are dedicated cyclist traffic lights. A similar solution in London would be too costly to implement, but there’s a cheaper alternative: simply lengthen the phase of the yellow light before it turns green. The new rule would be, “Cyclists treat the yellow light as a green.” As little as 3-5 seconds would make a big difference and ought not to anger even the most impatient drivers.

    Visualise the new traffic light phasing with an added amber phase following red:

    green -> amber (current length) -> red -> pause for opposing traffic -> amber (extended length for bikes to get a head start) -> green

    Red and green would continue to apply to all modes of traffic – bikes, cars, motorbikes, busses, etc. The only difference is the amber following the red: its extended length would provide cyclists a head start on motorized vehicles.

    Thoughts, anyone? I’d love to start a campaign for “left on red for cyclists” or the extended amber light.

    • zing 12/08/2010 at 10:19 pm #

      Hi Mark, “left on red” sounds great. So does the extended amber light idea, but I think it will probably be treated by motorists in the same manner as amber lights (after red) are currently treated — as good as green. It’s a good idea in theory but I doubt it would work in practice given the impatience of most drivers, especially in London.

      • Mark 13/08/2010 at 1:14 pm #

        Hi zing, I think the only way to implement the extended amber light is to also make it a ticktable infraction for drivers to drive through an amber light that follows red. The infraction would be as severe as running a red light. Impatient drivers would simply be punished for breaking the law, as they do currently when they blow through red lights.

        • zing 18/08/2010 at 12:20 pm #

          Hi Mark, I can see the sense in that, but the public education and enforcement/policing costs would be pretty big. Still cheaper than installing cyclist-specific traffic lights I guess. It could well end up like advance stop lines/boxes — there but not always respected.

      • John 17/08/2010 at 11:50 am #

        Yes, agree with Marks Idea but as I read through it agree totally with Zing. How many times do we see motorists driving through red lights to do a right hand turn, for me at one junction every change of the lights it seems!

        • Mark 17/08/2010 at 2:17 pm #

          Sure, I mean the principle of defensive driving – in our case cycling – still applies. Anyone would be stupid to assume that all car drivers will follow all the rules of the road all the time. When my light goes green and I see a car trying to make a late right-hand turn across traffic, as John described, I’m not about to start cycling anyway, risking my safety, just to ‘make a point’ or whatever.

  8. purpaboo 17/12/2009 at 11:50 am #

    Both proposals are excellent, Mark.

    • Mark 13/08/2010 at 1:14 pm #

      Thanks, purpaboo!

  9. Howard 17/12/2009 at 12:19 pm #

    Make my way to the front, claim the lane completely and proceed on amber. Will use all means of getting to the front, left side, right side, filter through traffic, whatever. Have a hub gear so don’t have to worry about shifting. May sometimes walk accross ped crossings but usually can’t be bothered – if you really need to do that to get where you need to be, sorry, you didn’t leave on time.

    Always give way to peds on pelican crossings, too.

    Have thought about calling motorbikes / cabs / van drivers on using the cyclist box but no stomache for it at the moment.

  10. keith 17/12/2009 at 1:35 pm #

    All good tips.

    Although the only three occasions were i always make my way to the front is (1) if i’m turning left, (2) if staying at the back would mean the light will be red before i get there, and (3) if i’ve just seen the light go red so i know there is plenty of time to get to the front.

    Otherwise i tend to sit back in the traffic (in the middle of my lane)

    I’ve nothing against moving up front, but often i see cyclists squeeze past cars and vans, then the light turns green, and they are stuck half way along a vehichle thats turning in front of them, right in the drivers blind spot. You may disagree, but i think there is an arguement to be made that sitting back in the traffic is sometimes safer, and doesn’t hold you back as much as you’d think.

  11. Roonius 17/12/2009 at 1:55 pm #

    I think virtually everything is down to personal choice and safety (for you and for other users).

    I will put my hand up and say I’m a habitual jumper. But only on lights where I know the sequence and/or pedestrian crossings with no pedestrians.

    It’s hard to justify, because I know it’s wrong, other than to say that anything which prevents you slowing down is a good thing for tired legs. And that, in the case of pedestrian crossings in particular, there’s nothing more frustrating than waiting at a red light when you can clearly see there’s no one crossing and some kid’s just pushed the button on his way past.

    As for those lights I don’t know, then I’ll (hopefully) have been looking far enough ahead to make an educated guess as to how long they’ve might have left before changing. And then approach them accordingly. Just changed to red? Slow right down. Been red for 10 or more seconds? Slow down a bit. Been red for longer, cover the brakes but approach at warp speed.

    On a final note regarding the dangers of traffic lights. I’ve had two collisions on crossings and both have been the results of pedestrians crossing against the red man and not of me going through a red light.

  12. George 17/12/2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Mark,

    Whilst you might well choose to go through red lights, justifying it by saying “it is safer not to wait at red lights” is patent nonsense.

    I’d be interested to see the “long amber” thing working though, A very interesting idea.

    George

  13. Nathan Goss 17/12/2009 at 2:42 pm #

    Whilst they are good ideas, they are currently not at all justification for going through the red lights. Not until that’s the law.

    Just stop at the bloody red lights and we will all start to get the respect on the road we deserve.

    It’s not rocket science

    • John 17/08/2010 at 12:03 pm #

      I do stop at red lights, but I will never forget the day when two cyclists side by side stopped behind a car and another car ploughed into them both and sent them and the bikes flying up in the air.
      On my route to work there is a left filter lane and a left filter light that only comes on to show green to turn left, the rest of the time the only lights are the ones showing for straight on traffic, I never wait for that filter light, because to wait on a road with an average speed of 50mph at what seems like a green light would be madness, I just watch the crossing as I go around the corner for anybody using it.

      John.

  14. Mark 17/12/2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Hi George,

    If there are no cars, no pedestrians, no cross traffic whatsoever — in other words, if you yield to all oncoming traffic — then it is safer for both you the cyclist as well as the drivers waiting at the red light if you proceed through the red light. The space created between yourself and the drivers means there is less of a chance for the drivers to accelerate into you when their light turns green. This is the logic, at least.

    Mark

    • Phil Russell 03/09/2010 at 2:21 pm #

      Mark—-when you ignore red traffic lights, you annoy half-a-dozen motorists to the point where they’d like to see all bikies registered, with on-bike number-plates, compulsory helmets, “road-tax” paid, MOT’d, insured, and confined to cycle-lanes at all times. Their resulting high blood pressure is unlikely to improve their courtesy and respect for us, as fellow road-users. When you see drivers shooting through on red, how does it make you feel?

      • Mark 03/09/2010 at 2:42 pm #

        I’ve never suggested that cyclists or anyone should ignore red traffic lights. Rather, I’m suggesting it be made legal for cyclists — and indeed drivers — to turn left on red provided they have come to a complete stop, checked that no pedestrians are crossing, and checked that there is no oncoming traffic, before starting the left turn. This works just fine in North America.

  15. Peter 17/12/2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Go to the advanced stop line

    creep to the (imaginary) “very advanced stop line” halfway across the junction.
    instantaneously become part of the flow of traffic joining the new road and cycle off

    But actually I weigh each on it’s own merits and go when it’s safe. Sometimes that’s jumping the lights sometimes waiting

    My behaviour has been slightly modified by seeing a very sensible article by someone in LCC – one cyclist jumping the lights is eccentric or maverick, but when every cyclist does it it’s civil disobedience..

    I wouldn’t jump lights if it put other road users/pedestrians at risk

  16. David Hembrow 17/12/2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Over here in the Netherlands we have the best designed traffic lights for cyclists.

    Never do you find yourself with a green light when on the right hand side of a vehicle turning right, or any of interaction like that. We also already have right on red as well as traffic lights which let cyclists go in all directions at once including diagonally, traffic lights which simply don’t apply when you’re on a bike or which default to green when cycling.

    What’s more, the timing is set up so that sometimes cyclists get greens twice as often as drivers, and in general you don’t have to wait long for a green.

    Cycle routes generally avoid the traffic lights, so you can make very efficient journeys by bike. For instance, my commute (a 60 km round trip) has just two sets of traffic lights on it. One defaults to green for bikes, and at the other I can do a right turn on red. I rarely have to stop. If I were to drive to work, I’d have to pass through six sets of lights before I leave the city I live in, and a few more at the other end.

    I have no need ever to jump lights, and make better progress as a result.

    To find an “ideal urban cycling environment” you really need to look beyond Copenhagen.

  17. BillG 17/12/2009 at 7:59 pm #

    Sorry George but waiting at red can be dangerous.
    In the Summer of 2008 I was run down whilst waiting at a red on the junction of Mile End road and Grove/ Burdett road (east bound).
    I can’t explain the driver’s actions, the light had been red for several seconds, it was still light, I was wearing a hi-vis jacket etc.
    Now I stand on the pavement if I’m caught at this junction outside of rush hour.

  18. Rob 17/12/2009 at 9:13 pm #

    I don’t jump lights and always respect pedestrian crossings. I agree with the comments above that a) suggestions that it’s “safer” to not wait are poor attempts to justify impatient & selfish behaviour and b) if we respect the rules of the road maybe we’ll get a little more respect back. I don’t buy the argument that because a lot of drivers behave badly it’s okay for us to as well. I’m not a goody-goody cyclist – I ride fast & assertively but hopefully not like too much of a dick.

    I generally filter to the front of traffic at lights, preferably on the right but on the left if there’s more room there. If there’s a large vehicle that I can’t get all the way in front of, I’ll stay behind it in case they can’t see me when traffic starts moving. I always shift down to middle front ring & 5 on the back so I can fly away when the light changes. Generally I find I can comfortably beat most cars away from the lights up until 10-15mph or so and I’ll make sure I’m prominently positioned and if the road is narrow claiming the whole lane.

    My worst nemeses at the lights are people who park themselves in the green box (although to be fair most don’t mean to), cabbies who seem to love to straddle two lanes at light and other cyclists who jump the light then can’t see when it changes and end up in my way when I take off.

  19. George 18/12/2009 at 8:34 am #

    All,
    I am actually gobsmacked at lots of these responses.

    The ONLY reason for jumping red lights is to get home sooner. If people choose to do that, then that is their business; I can see why they do, I choose not to. If the police chose to start prosecuting offenders then I would have no problem with that. The only downside to me is that it makes drivers dislike cyclists a bit more.

    Of course there are times when accidents happen stopping/stopped at lights, but for every one of those there will be a dozen where someone has gone through a light.

    On the subject of road users; which categories do you like/dislike most? For me buses seem very considerate; licensed minicabs (with the tfl sticker) bloody lethal.

    George

  20. Peter 18/12/2009 at 10:28 am #

    @George, I love it! I use the same tatic and once made it from Westminster to Chelsea whithout a red light. Really needed a rest by the time I did get a red light :-)

  21. Howard 18/12/2009 at 10:49 am #

    @George

    >licensed minicabs (with the tfl sticker) bloody lethal.

    Yes! They are absolutely f8cking clueless. The worst, by miles. Make white van drivers and black cabbies look like saints.

  22. thereverent 18/12/2009 at 11:35 am #

    Getting to the ASL (if there is one) is normally the best option. I prefer to stop not quite at the front, so just before the red goes off I can start rolling forward and get my foot in the clip (I use old style clip and straps).
    But getting there can be a judgement of how much space there is to get round any cars, how long the lights will stay red and if there are any cars/vans/buses in the ASL. It some times can be better to hang back but noramlly I would want to be a the front in a good vivible position.
    I do get a bit anoyed at cyclists who go further forward than the ASL and so can’t see the lights. They generally aren’t quicker than me off the lights to start with and so I end up having to go round them.

    I think there is certainly one time where it is safer to jump te light. On a few occations I have been in the ASL when an HGV has pulled up righ beside of behind me. I am now in his blindspot, exactly where all the safety campaigns say you should not be. Now he may have broken the law by pulling into the ASL, but I don’t fancy relying on him being careful pulling away.
    Having said this I will alway normally stop at red.

    • Mark 13/08/2010 at 1:15 pm #

      Is pulling into the ASL even a ticketable offense? I’d assume not, considering that I’ve seen police cars themselves stopped at red lights within the green cycle area!

  23. Roonius 21/12/2009 at 1:20 pm #

    While I’ve said myself, I know it’s wrong to jump reds, on the argumnet of it being more/less dangerous:

    “Women cyclists are more likely to be killed by lorries than men because they obey red lights and then wait in drivers’ blind spots.

    Research by Transport for London, which has been kept secret since last July, suggests that cyclists who jump red lights may be safer than those who stick to the law. ”

    From: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23393622-male-cyclists-who-jump-red-lights-are-safer.do

    Other interesting articles

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/cyclotherapy-jumping-red-traffic-lights-when-it-is-safe-to-do-so-should-be-encouraged-not-penalised-1777547.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/green-living-blog/2009/dec/01/cyclists-menace-spectator-debate

  24. Patrick 21/12/2009 at 2:36 pm #

    Glad to see it’s not just me who thinks the minicabs are rolling liabilities…

  25. Mark 21/12/2009 at 2:52 pm #

    @Roonius @BillG Exactly.

  26. Corin 22/12/2009 at 2:25 pm #

    I don’t understand this “jumping red lights when it’s safe to do so” thing. How do you know? Just because you can’t see any dangers doesn’t mean there are none there.

    Of course, waiting for the light doesn’t mean there are no dangers either, but you don’t just go when the light turns green, you check the road and then go. The advantage of obeying the lights is that you’re sticking to universally understood rules, allowing all the other road users to understand you and encouraging rule-bound interactions – and in the long term it’s those predictable, consensus-based actions that make all forms of road use safer.

  27. Laura 26/12/2009 at 10:01 am #

    Wow, loads of great responses to this topic. I generally have to agree with those who say ‘obey the red light’, As a cyclist I have personally experienced feeling very vulnerable at red lights BUT:

    1. Often I see cyclists disregard red lights, and also the pedestrians who are trying to cross. Let’s not forget the pedestrians because it’s not all about cars. They are annoying sometimes, but they have a right to cross the road safely.

    2. Like Corin says – you may not think you can see danger, but danger could be a split second round that T Junction. Do you really want to risk death or injury to get home faster? Really?

    3. Other road users will NEVER respect cyclists if we continue to break the rules of the road. Bottom line – jumping a red light is breaking the law. There are no arguments to that, and it wouldn’t be tolerated from other vehicles. We have to show respect to road laws if we want road laws to respect us.

    I once got told off by a bike mounted police officer for being over the stop line at lights (no ASL). There was a big old HGV behind me – I was going to argue my case but thought this was fairly pointless with a jobsworth police officer. This is when I realised road planning has to change radically for cyclists to feel safer. I accept cyclists are often compelled to break the law but let’s try not to as much as we can…..Instead, let’s campaign harder more for safe left turns on red, fines for cars the in ASL, and more cycling phased traffic lights instead of trying to justify our dodgy light jumping ways.

  28. Mark 05/07/2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Obviously you should not risk death or injury to get home faster. But this misstates the issue entirely. It’s not about getting home faster but rather getting home safer. In some scenarios it is safer for both cyclists and drivers for cyclists to run red lights, for example a safe left turn on red (in the UK; safe right on red everywhere else), or getting a head start a head start in front of accelerating cars before the light goes green.

    @Laura, I’m ALL FOR IT! Let’s campaign harder. What can we do?

  29. Graham C. Agnew 13/08/2010 at 1:02 pm #

    Perhaps I’m getting old but at some complex traffic light junctions I just get off and cross as a pedestrian. I don’t live in London but, I’m sure my experiences are similar, riding through a signal on green does not mean that you will get to the other side of the junction safely before the lights change against you.

    • John 17/08/2010 at 12:17 pm #

      It is the best thing to do on times, I used to cycle over a flyover and merge with other traffic on my left on the way home until a copper told me I must be mad! He said I ride a bike and I use the subways here to get across the junction, I know you shouldnt but its a lot safer, well now the subways have been made dual purpose for cyclist and pedestrians.

      John.

  30. Bigbananafeet 20/08/2010 at 1:17 pm #

    What about traffic lights that don’t register my presence as a cyclist? I have a left turn from the side road on T junction to make which is normally fine but first thing in the morning or very late at night it changes priority to keep the traffic flowing on the major road. Last night I had to wait a very long time for a car to approach the lights behind me and trigger the light sequence. What do you do in this situation?

    • Mark 20/08/2010 at 5:53 pm #

      In that case I think the safest thing is to dismount the bike, skip up onto the pavement, and press the pedestrian walk button. When traffic stops and you get your green man, walk the bike across, then re-mount alongside cars at the now-red light and wait for the green.

  31. John 03/02/2011 at 11:42 am #

    Gearing down when approaching a red light is a great suggestion but I rarely see cyclists doing that on my North London commute, instead they all seem to stay in their cruising gear and then struggle to take off on the amber/green light.

    • Destry 30/11/2011 at 1:28 am #

      Hey, you\’re the goto exrpet. Thanks for hanging out here.

  32. Bryan 01/03/2011 at 12:11 pm #

    if I’m being truthful I se traffic lights as advisory however i do enforce some rules on myself. If pedestrians are crossing or about to, I stop in fact I always give way to pedestrians even when they’re in the wrong… Way I see it they’re lower in the food chain so be nice and hopefully that white van man will be nice to you.

    secondly when i approach a red light i instinctually slow and scour the junction for traffic and assess the safety of the situation. as a very experienced cyclist and driver for that mater this is almost instant and i’ve never yet been found wanting. Where there is any possibility of risk I give it a wide berth

    As you say timing your roll up to a red is good practise as well as watching the traffic signal for the other direction which usually gives you a 5 second head start on the rest of the traffic

    Always move to the front of the traffic if at all possible though be careful i;ve been stuck between two large vehicles as the lights change. best response I’ve found is to pedal as fast as you can to get to the driver before he starts to move thus giving him/them sight of you

  33. dl 06/03/2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Interested to know the legality around – Plan G: Wiggle your way to the front.
    As a cyclist/road user are we allowed to squeeze through and move up between traffic when there is not officially a lane marked.
    I’ve just been involved in a incident where I was ‘wiggling to the front’ past a lorry on the right, in the right turn lane and a stationary car on the left in the straight ahead lane. Light turned green before i got to the front. (As you can all imagine – I’m thinking; oh dear I’m definitely not in a good spot here) The lorry veered left as he moved off before he did his right turn, as he veered left he crushed me against the stationary car (it hadn’t moved because of traffic ahead) I managed to unclip and get off but the lorry’s front mud guard caught my handle bars, up ended my bike and smashing it into the ground. Bent bike, I’m ok.
    Now the legality. Am I allowed to be moving up between stationary traffic? Officially there is not a lane for me so maybe not? So assuming I’m not allowed there, it’s my fault for being in the wrong place. However if I am allowed there then the right turning lorry that has decided to veer left a bit before he swings his right turn is moving into a blind spot that he can not see putting him at fault.
    Really i’m just grateful to be alive but if I could get a few quid for my nice bent reynolds steel frame that would be good too. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    • rp 30/01/2013 at 8:10 pm #

      I realise this question is quite an old one but as a motorcyclist I had the same question. The simple fact of the matter is that filtering (passing through stationary traffic) is legal for bikes and motorbikes as long as there is sufficient space to do so. In your situation I don’t know how well it would work and I always ask myself the question “is it worth risking death to get that bit further ahead”. If you’re in a vulnerable position then yes, but if you’re quite safe where you are you should really ask whether the manoeuvre is an acceptable risk… In an ideal world you’d have looked ahead and predicted the movement of the lorry, though every day is a learning day!

  34. Mark 18/11/2011 at 2:12 pm #

    if there is a car in the green “advanced stop” area reserved for cyclists i wil do my best to get in front of it and stay in front of them.
    even when i pull off i will sometimes stay in a central road position to make them aware that the space they were in was for me, to give me a head start on them to get me out of denger – from them!
    they need to learn that space is for me, as a cyclist it is all mine (well, shared with other cyclists)…..

    i am not sure if motorbikes are allowed to use the green advanced stop area? can anyone clear this up for me?

    • rp 30/01/2013 at 8:15 pm #

      Again, you probably already have this answer by now but if anyone else is wondering – motorbikes are NOT allowed in the green advanced stop areas. BUT we are allowed to filter which can sometimes put us in a tricky spot. We ride defensively too and so have to consider how vulnerable we are at all times (just like cyclists). there has been more than one occasion now where I have filtered past traffic (on the right so legally), gone to tuck in behind the first car and some arrogant eejit has pulled forward to stop me coming in – leaving me stranded in oncoming traffic. Needless to say I pulled into the advanced area switched off the engine and went for a little chat… even a young female looks terrifying in that much body armour…..

      • Mark 31/01/2013 at 12:28 am #

        nice to have it confirmed that motorbikes are not allowed in the green advance stop boxes , which are specifically for cyclists. i dont mind sharing with my 2 wheeled companions, but it pisses me off when th whole box is full of motorbikes and i am stuck between cars outside th advance stop box. or worse, im stuck on the right, close to oncoming traffic on th other side of th road

  35. Sam 08/04/2013 at 10:58 am #

    Part of my commute includes a shared bus and cycle lane. At the end of it, there is a traffic light on a sensor to allow you priority to re-join the main carraigeway.

    The sensor cannot detect bikes, and busses are infrequent at some times of day, so you have no choice but to jump it. Drivers see you doing this, and wont let you back in to the main carraigeway.

    A great example of how our road infrstructure has been engineered to prevent safe cycling.

    • Pete Smith 08/04/2013 at 11:12 am #

      Where is this, Sam?

      Let’s get it reported and sorted. :-)

  36. Bill 20/07/2014 at 2:54 pm #

    I ve always thought that if we designed the road system with pedestrians and cyclists in priority then we wouldn’t have any traffic lights at all. London would be full of mini roundabouts and zebra crossings. There is a good example on the north end road and Lillie road. As a cyclist you shoot through when safe. Pedestrians cross when they want. The lack of Traffic lights encourage drivers to cross with proper care and attention.

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