That’s according to the Evening Standard.
The headline is more dramatic than the story; it’s not all red lights that Boris is talking about, but turning left on a red light. If the red light is for traffic going one-way, say east-west, then the cyclist will be joining the north-south flow, and should not conflict with east-west pedestrians who will also have a red light. So it could work.
The Mayor of London can’t actually change the law on cycling through red lights – that would take national government action – but he is certainly provoking debate. As one cyclist comments in the ES, “Traffic lights are not there because people think they are fun, they are there for safety reasons.” Sanctioning breaking laws that don’t suit you is a slippery slope (and yes, I know Lib Dems have taken a stand on ID cards) and you have to have a very clear rationale.
I don’t have a problem with the left-turn idea, where there’s no conflict with pedestrians. But I don’t know how many lives it will save. After all, many of the fatal accidents involving cyclists and large vehicles occur when the cyclist is going straight ahead, but the vehicle is turning left. And Lisa Pontecorvo was killed wheeling her bike across the road.
My bane is cyclists ignoring zebra crossings and red lights at pelicans. There’s no way there’s any safety argument for that; simply an unwillingness to stop or slow down for pedestrians.
I suspect that Boris’ big idea isn’t about practicalities but about positioning. It’s a way to appear cycle-friendly while passing the buck to the Government.
Meanwhile, one thing the Mayor could do, as soon as he likes, is get rid of the ubiquitous railings which trap cyclists and pedestrians alike at junctions – like the exciting plans for Oxford Circus.
No change in the law required. So what are you waiting for, Boris?