ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Cyclists and red lights - a study of behaviour of commuter cyclists in Melbourne

Johnson, M, Charlton, Judith, Oxley, Jennifer (Peer reviewed)



The primary aim of this research was to investigate the behaviours of cyclists and their interactions with vehicles at signalised intersections. The findings presented are from a three week observational study of Melbourne commuter traffic. An unobtrusive video camera was used at two intersections to observe all road users during morning in-bound and afternoon out-bound peak hour traffic, 5,420 cyclists were observed. A minority of cyclists who faced a red light rode through the intersection, including 3% of morning cyclists and 11% of afternoon cyclists. An in-depth analysis of the afternoon cyclists identified three distinct types of behaviours: (i) the ?racers? who approached an amber light, accelerated but entered the intersection on the red signal; (ii) the ?impatients? who stopped and waited, then rode through the still red-signalised intersection; and (iii) the ?runners? who rode through the red-signalised intersection without stopping. The results focus on the three types of behaviour at red lights. Males were more likely to continue through the red light than females and the majority of males who rode through red lights were ?runners?. The findings are important as they differentiate between the types of red light running behaviour and highlight factors influencing cyclists? risk exposure. The study is part of a larger research project investigating cyclist-driver interactions. Outcomes will contribute to the development of targeted countermeasure strategies for cycle safety.