Stats on Cycling Through Red Lights

An interesting report from Transport for London about the % of cyclists who actually cycle through red lights in London. Report on Cycling stats TFL pdf

Transport for London Conducted a survey at 5 different locations around London and marked the number of cyclists who went through red lights.

  • Total Cyclists   who ran red light – 1180 / 6322
  • % Cyclists  of went through red light – 16%.
  • % of cyclists who didn’t go through red light – 84%
  • The number of male cyclists observed at these junctions was 78% of total number of cyclists. Women accounts for 22% of observed cyclists.
  • The figure for men running red lights (17%) was slightly higher than women (13%), though there doesn’t seem to be a significant gender gap.
  • In general cyclists who ride through red lights are more likely to do so whilst travelling straight ahead at a junction. They are least likely to do so when turning right.
  • 54% of red light violations were for cycling straight ahead. 24% for turning left. 18% for turning right.


Since 2000, there has been a 83% increase in cycle use in London. The increased number of cyclists on the streets will have increased the actual number of cyclists running the red-light. This might explain why many feel the problem is getting worse – there are simply  more cyclists. However, the % of red light running has not been measured in years when cycle use was much lower.

The report concludes

A total of 7502 cyclists were surveyed across all of the sites. Of these, an average of 16% violated red lights, whilst the remaining 84% obeyed the traffic signals. Therefore it can be concluded that the majority of cyclists do not ride through red lights. However, the 16% that do must be discouraged from ignoring traffic signals.

Accidents at Red Lights.

Quite revealing is the statistic

 “Of pedestrians injured in London in a collision caused by red light jumping only 4% involve cyclists, whereas 71% occur when a car driver jumps a red light and 13% when a motorcyclist does. As an organisation representing those two road user groups, CTC suggests IAM ought to call for more road traffic policing to enforce traffic laws, rather than highlighting red light jumping by cyclists.” CTC

 From media coverage, it often feels running red lights is primarily a violation by cyclists. But, just 4% of accidents suggests that the danger posed by motor cars is much greater.

8 Responses to Stats on Cycling Through Red Lights

  1. David Arditti May 20, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    I disagree with Matt that cyclists would “gain more respect” if they all obeyed traffic signals.

    To see the falsity of this argument, you just have to look at the “respect” motorists have in the context of the number of traffic law violations they commit.

    One has to understand that this is basically a persecution of a minority thing, unrelated to actual facts of behaviour. It would change if we had more cyclists in the population, and better road designs for cyclists, which would probably go together, as they do in The Netherlands.

  2. Chris May 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    I’d love to know the same figures cars running red lights at these junctions during the surveys and comparing. It may be fairer to just count number of red lights run by both (e.g. two cyclists running same red light count as one red-light run and visa versa).

    • Skippy May 18, 2012 at 6:23 am #

      Agree with your idea that those running ” Red Lights ” are usually together , thus one incident !

      AT Giro , so ride with the ” Banka Med ” groups led by Gianni Motta ,Francesco Moser and Maurizio Fondriest and numbers of 60 or so will routinely run the red lights in the course of a ride . There is little danger as ITALIAN Drivers know that the Giro is in their neighbourhood but you will find the odd clown that will visit the Giro and push a cyclist or kick their bike !

      Anyone seeing the photo of me on my butt after my crash in Verona a week last Tuesday , please email the links to as i want to do a story about HELMET USE !

      My helmet broke in 3 places as i head butted the ground several times , but apart from seeing stars and losing skin , Matt White , DS of GreenEdge team found me in surprisingly good condition !

      Always said Matt was a star but to jump out of the car to go to the aid of a Cyclist in the middle of important TTT training was an act above and beyond expected of anyone !

      Still stiff in the joints but getting through the Etappes , today mercifully short with 120km !

  3. Tim May 17, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    Interesting stats. Thank you for sharing them.

    I was also interested to read the following on the Guardian Bike Blog the other day:

    “Of pedestrians injured in London in a collision caused by red light jumping only 4% involve cyclists, whereas 71% occur when a car driver jumps a red light and 13% when a motorcyclist does.” – Roger Geffen (CTC Campaigns and Policy Director)*

    Firstly this does not excuse inconsiderate cyclists.
    Secondly there is a factor of the relative numbers of cyclists and drivers to be considered.

    But no-one should be deluded that all cyclists jump red lights and drivers never do. Pedestrians may have a perception that cyclists are the main culprits, but actually these figures indicate they are far more likely to be injured by a driver jumping a red light, and I would guess the injury is likely to be worse. I know I’d rather be hit by a bike than a car, although of course I’d rather not be hit at all.

    *The CTC press release with his quote is here: . Apparently the figures come from Transport for London data between 1998-2007.

    • tejvan May 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      Yes, 4% of accidents. but 85% of media coverage

  4. matt May 17, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Apart from scaring pensioners on pavements and going over pedestrian crossings during the school run when there are mums with pushchairs just trying to get their kids to school, this is the stupidest thing a cyclist can do in London. Not because they’ll cause an accident to themselves, that rarely happens as they generally go when there’s nothing coming, but they don’t see the situation they leave behind them at the lights; the other cyclists that think it’s safe to go, the car driver that thinks the lights may have changed when he’s not looking and jerks forward. I’ve seen it happen so many times whilst the cyclist ahead blithely carries on, having gained about 30 seconds on the rest of us. It needs to stop if cyclists are going to gain any sort of respect on London’s roads.

    • tejvan May 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      there is a definite lemming effect, I see it photographing cycles, I might do a post on this soon.


  1. Confessions of a red light jumper | CycleLove - January 26, 2013

    [...] Which puts me in the same boat as 84% of cyclists in London, according to this TFL survey. [...]

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