Last December saw Bristol's Cycling City project kick off with a highly publicised purge against cyclists riding through red lights. Apparently the ambivalence with which red lights had been treated by many cyclists was no longer to be tolerated. In fact offenders were to have their names added to the Anti-Social Behaviour Database, which is something unprecedented for a one-off traffic offense.
But that was soooh last year, darling. Now in January 2009 a new message is proudly proclaimed via the latest Cycling City initiative, the partial closure to motor traffic of Prince Street Bridge. The new arrangements channel north bound cyclists through a red light (pic above) without any intention that they should stop for it! There is no stop line, an implicit negation of the stop instruction of the red light. So the new message is 'at red lights, use your discretion as to whether it's safe to proceed', which is what many of us have long been doing.
OK, it's January, so it's alright for cyclists to use their discretion. But what about February? Will the policy change again? How are cyclists expected to keep up the the inconsistent diktats of those who know best? I think I have a solution. How about special sets of traffic lights just for cyclists on the main arterial routes. Green will signal that a discretionary approach is acceptable, red that discretion is not tolerated and amber that the policy is about to change?
Unusual light combination on Prince Street Bridge (long exposure).
Link to next Prince Street Bridge post.