It is a truth widely acknowledged on the internet that cyclists are all a bunch of red light jumpers and general scofflaws (see also: riding on the pavement, riding two abreast, riding in the road, riding a bike generally, not driving a car like a normal person). Some would go further and suggest that – like a class being kept in over break until the person who stole the teacher’s pen owns up and returns it – until every last cyclist obeys every last red light, then we’re not to be considered a serious form of transport and we can’t expect the government to spend any money on anything other than comedy cycle lanes that go into the sides of bus stops (compare and contrast with the current proposals on raising the speed limits for lorries on the grounds that they’re all speeding anyway).
Although I don’t really believe this, I do stop at red lights all the same, mostly because I believe observance of traffic laws is one of the markers of a civilised behaviour and because I like to be on the moral high ground at all times so I can complain bitterly when a driver does something I don’t like – but also so that I can disprove the statement that ALL cyclists run red lights; after all, it only takes one who doesn’t. And with the road works in the village trundling into their third week (seriously, how long does it take eight men to lay one pavement?) I’m still hoping that I’ll get my chance to observe the elusive red light. So far, all that’s happened is that it has turned green as soon as I approach, except for the one time when they were still switching them on, when the workmen just waved me through anyway. Occasionally I get to slow down and even put a foot out ready to stop, but I’ve been stymied at the last minute by a swift change to green. And besides, there’s never anyone in the village to observe my conspicuous civic virtue even if I were to get a chance to exercise it.
I live in hope though. One day the light will be against me, and I will stop, and the massed ranks of villagers will spring from their houses where they have been hiding from the unbearable heat* and carry me shoulder high through the streets – sorry, street – declaring that from now on, Nearest Village shall have proper cycle lanes. Because otherwise, if a cyclist stops at a red light and there’s nobody there to observe it, did it really happen?
And besides, with the continuing bone-dry status of the ford, it adds a little uncertainty and tension into my daily routine…
* About 20°C