Three distinct types of behaviours were observed by cyclists facing red lights: those who race through the amber light and continue through the red light phase (‘racers’), those who first stop and then continue through the red phase (‘impatients’) and those who face red and fail to stop (‘runners’). Arguably, the three classes of behaviours may be exposed to different levels of risk of a crash with cross-traffic. The ‘racers’ cross through the intersection before the signal facing the cross-traffic has changed to green. Thus, with no cross-traffic the ‘racers’ have the lowest exposure to risk. Potentially, the ‘impatients’ are exposed to a higher level of risk than the ‘racers’ as the light phase permits cross-traffic to flow through the intersection at the same time as they cross. However, in the observations analysed to date, no ‘impatient’ cyclist entered the intersection in front of a cross vehicle. That is, all ‘impatients’ stopped and proceeded only after cross-traffic had cleared the intersection. Thus, while ‘impatients’ clearly place themselves at risk, their decision to first stop and wait for cross-traffic before riding through the red light suggests a more considered judgement of the cross-flow traffic conditions and associated risk than the ‘runners.’ The ‘runners’ do not stop and while some slowed down on their approach, it is argued that as a group, ‘runners’ have the highest exposure to risk. Like the ‘impatients,’ ‘runners’ pass through the intersection whilst cross-flow traffic faces a green signal, but unlike ‘impatients’ they do not stop. Hence, ‘runners’ are likely to have less time to observe the traffic and less time to brake to avoid a collision. ‘Several runners’ were observed crossing the intersection in front of cross vehicles and one male ‘runner’ put himself in a position of high risk by riding in front of a cross vehicle with only three seconds clearance. The remaining 92 cyclists who rode through the red intersection did so when the intersection was clear of all cross vehicles and this reduced the level of risk in their red light running behaviour. The cyclists who ran the red light, appear to have treated the traffic signal as a yield. Some researchers have suggested that this kind of behaviour by cyclists may evoke a negative reaction from drivers, who perceive the cyclists to be flouting the law (Davies et al., 1997).
"Only three seconds clearnce..." seriously? I see dozens of pedestrians allowing themselves less clearance than that every day.