Cyclists’ Dark Clothing and No Lights.

In my last post, I thought I had dealt with all the boring Tropes about cycling. But no. Apparently not content with looking for red-lights to run and achieving the miraculous feat of being simultaneously “in the middle of the road” and “on the pavement” we also all delight in wearing dark clothing and never have lights.

On this I have some sympathy with the motorist. I drive, and I am hyper aware of cyclists. However when I see one in dark clothing, at dusk (it’s worse at dusk and dawn than in the dead of night) without lights, I think it’s barely sporting to not give the motorist a chance to see you. Most cyclists, however want to survive their commute to work, and so deck themselves in blinking lights, high viz & reflective rucksack covers, Tabards, Sam-Brownes, Rucksack and Helmet covers, stickers, projecting lasers and so forth.

There is a whole sub-industry of bicycle accessories which are designed to make sure you’re seen. A set of effective lights can cost less than a tenner. You need to spend more if you want to see where you’re going without street lights, but a tenner will get you seen by an approaching motorist.

For my part, my bag is reflective and apparently lights up like a Christmas tree in the headlights. I always have a seatpost blinker, one further on my bag, and one attached to my helmet. I pump out 300 lumens front.  I never go out without my lights. Of course, it is one of the few things the police can stop a cyclist for. And in my experience, they do, quite reasonably stop cyclists without lights.

Let’s also deal with cyclists being “in the way”. I was told to “get out the way” this morning. See the video below.

This also deals with the “red light jump”, which is a simple non-issue. I agree, blowing red lights at speed is dangerous. Rolling through them, after the pedestrians have gone just gets you out of the way of the traffic behind, to everyone’s benefit. Traffic lights are more about not allowing cars to block junctions, than they are about safety, and bicycles don’t block junctions.

23 replies
  1. David Jones
    David Jones says:

    Nice ride! I take it that you're not on 23mm tyres. If you are, Chapeau!

    I agree about taking a red light like that. They should be advisory only for bikes.

  2. Tom
    Tom says:

    Well quite. The reason jumping a red is a serious offence in a car and trivial on a bike should be clear to anyone not just interested in point scoring arguments. Jump a red at normal speed in a motor vehicle (i.e. the limit + a few mph) and you risk:
    1. Hitting a pedestrian with high chance of causing serious injury or death 2. T-boning another vehicle, potentially causing major damage, risk of serious injury. 3. Pointlessly blocking a junction, causing inconvenience
    Jump a red at normal maximum speed on a bike (15-20mph) and you risk:
    1. Hitting a pedestrian, with most likely injury being cuts and bruises to both parties 2. Hitting a car from the side arm with risk for major injury to yourself 3. Causing minor disruption at worst.
    The motor equivalent of a bicycle jumping a red is probably stopping in an ASL on red, i.e. illegal but unlikely to be prosecuted, slightly increasing someone else’s risk of injury, causing someone else minor inconvenience.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Dude – 2'10". You're making a third lane all for yourself down the middle of the two-lane highway, and then expect the cars in the painted lanes to stay out of *your* way.

    Using this technique, a bike blocked the junction for me today. Straightforward crossroads, but his being alongside cars (making a lane for himself) instead of waiting his turn in the queue forced two lanes of traffic into one-and-a-half lanes of road, hence ten seconds' gridlock. So, let's say ten people missed the lights, at a two-minute cycle – maybe half a man-hour wasted? Ten or fifteen quid down the pan? And all because a cyclist wouldn't wait his turn.

    This is like watching Christopher Hitchens talk about Marxism. I never could understand how he could be so eloquent and insightful about some things, and then talk total nonsense about others.

    Warmest personal regards, as always…


  4. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    Anon. Some remedial reading of the highway code is in order for you.

    Cyclists are entitled, if we feel we need it to the whole lane. You have no right to get past, though it is polite for me to let you past WHEN, and ONLY WHEN I judge it to be safe for you to go.

    Let me repeat for you, you terminal thicko. If you pass close because you think you've a right to get past, and I've an obligation to let you, you're a fucking mong, who doesn't know the rules of the road.

    So you're wrong, demonstrably wrong, and you're everything that makes cycling in the UK unpleasant. I hope you get dragged out of your vehicle and beaten to death, you stupid, ignorant cunt.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    But, look at yourself at 2'10". It is not cars squeezing past you, it's you squeezing past cars.

    You're the one who thinks other vehicles have an obligation accommodate you while you ride wherever you please, even where *there is no lane*. How are the motorists supposed to even try to do that, when you are liable to do *absolutely anything*.

    Finally, there is no reason to be so unpleasant, unless you only want to hear from people who agree with you. I sent you warm regards, and meant it. Why not be civil?


  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    The anger management technique, "Jackart"…remember what the doctor told you about the importance of not working yourself up too much?

  7. Peter
    Peter says:


    Interesting thread here and while I respect your views, what you are doing is simply breaking the law. This is what the Highway Code says about how cyclists should behave at lights:


    You MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.
    Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD reg 10(1)

    You make great play of asking people to respect your right to cycle but you go ahead and flout he law. How can you expect others to behave well when you yourself do not?


  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    anon 10.28

    I get what you are saying, Jackart is trying to hard to be a prick.

    Really these situations have to just be handled sensibly, the lane is wide enough to accommodate a bike as well as a car in either lane, but only if…

    The cyclist goes along sensibly, not trying to force himself through every gap, but pulling in when the road narrows, and not just assuming everyone is aware of him.

    Drivers have a bit of consideration as well, staying either one side or the other of their lane, and using their mirrors for more than reversing into driveways.

    There is no point cycling if you have to wait in a traffic que like everyone else, and in most cases there is enough room to accommodate everyone.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Peter, you are right that cyclists are "breaking the law" going through red lights.

    But I don't give a stuff.

    I only care about cycling safely and considerately, obviously I never jump a light into moving traffic.

  10. cuffleyburgers
    cuffleyburgers says:

    JAckart – as a motorist you'd have annoyed the fuck out of me as well; I have no doubt you are right about most of what you say but the fundamental principle of safe and if not stress-free at least as-low-stress-as-possible driving is courtesy and consideration. THe driver there showed none by shouting at you, agreed, and you showed even less by calling poor old "anon" a cunt.

    It is not a war, we are all just trying to get to work so chill out dude.

  11. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    The problem… THE problem is that some motorists think that cyclists have no right to a lane, and that there is a right for the car to get past and an obligation for the cyclist to let him past.

    That is the problem. I let courteous motorists past. I damage the vehicles of the inconsiderate arseholes who try to bully me.

    I will let people past when AND ONLY WHEN I judge it to be safe. I am not holding someone up because I am a selfish arsehole, but because I am an experienced cyclist trying to stay alive on hostile, badly designed roads, populated by inconsiderate cunts like anon.

    If you drive sensibly, you get let past as soon as possible, with a cheery wave. Most, the vast majority of drivers in fact are perfectly pleasant.

    I suspect Anon is the same kind of wanker that tailgates you in freezing fog. People who drive like knobs against cyclists do so around other drivers. They've killers, and they need to be stopped.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    A right to a lane, yes, absolutely. A right to a lane *someone else is already in*, not so much.

    In your video, you squeeze between cars – causing considerable anxiety, I am sure, considering you were riding through the slush. Certainly I'd have been watching you, and not anyone else. You may be an experienced cyclist (I will not make the same claim about my driving) but you don't have ET in the basket to pull you out of the fire if one of the cat's eyes is missing under there.

    Secondly, I am also impressed that you know when it is safe for someone you don't know to attempt an overtake. My father, for example, is awesome – slingshots, heel and toe, the whole works. I wait until I can see at least a hundred yards more than I actually need. Give someone an opportunity to pass and they feel obliged to take it, even if they don't feel up to it. Any resulting accident mght not be your fault, but you'd have created the circumstances.

    So, in short, why not just behave predictably by following the same rules as everyone else?


  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Jackart, As the other anon said, look at 2.10, you are talking about 1.30 into the video

    You are defending a completely different situation and just making yourself look like a prick by name calling.

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    As a cyclist I can only say.

    I hope you get hit and turned into a red smear you pretentious prick.

    I don't know why you can't just debate like a reasonable grown up instead of a child throwing a tantrum, anon at 10.28 raised a reasonable question.

    Your reply = froth at mouth and name call.

    Yea, you're really doing yourself a favour here.

  15. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    I write about cycling, I get far more comments, usually from a bunch of mouth-breathers like the cockroaches infesting this thread, who haven't ridden a bike on public roads for decades, yet who think they're expert on what's safe for a cyclist to do.

    You guys know shit. I'll ignore the rules if it is safer to do so. Drivers after all regularly ignore the one about giving 3 feet to cyclists when passing. They also think those rules about maximum speed and where you can abandon your car are part of something called the "war on the motorist".

    To imagine the crime of running a red light on a bike is in any way equivalent to passing a cyclist at speed with inches to spare, you're a moron.

    To imagine that it's safer to be holding up a queue of impatient motorists (which is what you guarantee will happen if you make me wait) is safer than judiciously rolling through the lights when it's safe and inconveniencing no-one while doing so, is ridiculous.

    It's not "the arrogance of cyclists". It's trying to stay alive on some of the most hostile roads in Europe.

    So far in this thread, I've been accused of hogging the lane, accused of recklessness, and been wished dead, and accused of running away from a days-old-thread which has moved on. Lovely.

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    And yet you still won't properly debate the issue raised by the other annon about 2.10 in the video.

    more insults and arguing about the bit's no one else is arguing about.

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Jackart said…"I hope you get dragged out of your vehicle and beaten to death, you stupid, ignorant cunt."

    Jackart said…"So far in this thread, I've been … wished dead…Lovely."

  18. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    The crucial difference: Cyclists almost never drag motorists out of their vehicles and beat them to death – this is hyperbole. Hundreds of cyclists are killed every year by trucks, and get threatened "I'm going to run you over, cunt" almost daily.

    So, once more. Cars and Bikes are different, and should be allowed to use the roads slightly differently.


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