Cyclists Red-light Running Behaviours in Taiwan

red light running by motorists

Pai and Jou (2013) provide a contribution to our understanding of cyclists and red-light jumping or running as the authors call it by looking a number of possible contributory factors in the context of Taiwan. This paper adds to the early works of the Johnson, Newstead, Charlton & Oxley (2011) and Johnson, Charlton, Oxley & Newstead (2013).

The authors found that several factors likely to significantly increase the likelihood of what the authors term cyclists “risky behaviours”, those being: intersections with short red-light duration, T/Y intersections, when riders were pupils in uniform, when riders were riding electric bicycles, when riders were not wearing helmets.

I do struggle to see the co-relation between not wearing a helmet and running a red light but I am assuming the authors are treating not wearing a helmet as risky behaviour and hence one risky behaviour leads to another.

The rest of this posts consists of a number of small sections of the paper to hopefully highlight the key aspects of the study. All parts are quoted as published.

Unlike red-light violations (RLVs) by other automobiles that would contribute to accidents and/or cause severe accident con- sequence once an accident has occurred, literature has suggested that cyclists infringing upon red lights at junctions would lead to few crashes – accidents as a result of RLVs by bicycles have reported rates of only 1.8% in the UK (Lawson, 1991), and approximately 6.5% in Australia (Green, 2003). Despite the low association between RLVs and crashes, RLV was frequently cited as the cyclist behaviour that most annoys other road users and was perceived as typical cyclist behaviour (Fincham, 2006). Relatively low violation rates (from 7% to 9%) have been reported in Australia (Johnson et al., 2011), while higher rates of RLVs by bicyclists have been reported in China (56%, Wu et al., 2012) and in Taiwan (21%, NPA, 2011). High association between bicyclist RLVs and accidents were, however, revealed in Taiwan (NPA, 2011) – approximately 22% of bicyclist accidents were due to bicyclist RLVs, of which about 34% resulting in fatalities.

Motivated by the fact that there appear to be high rates of RLVs by bicyclists, and high association between bicyclist RLVs and accidents in Taiwan, the current research aims at investigat- ing bicyclists’ RLVs through the use of a videotaping survey. The present study extends the past studies (Yang et al., 2006; Wu et al., 2012 that have investigated pedestrians and bicyclist road-crossing behaviours) by classifying bicyclists crossing behaviours into three distinct manners: risk-taking, opportunistic, and law-obeying. The definitions of these three types are: the risk-taking bicyclists are those who would ignore the red light and travel through the junction without stopping (but may slow down); the opportunistic ones include those who would originally wait at red lights but would be too impatient to wait for red lights to become green and subsequently cross the junction by seeking gaps among crossing traffic; and the law-obeying bicyclists are those who would stop by obey- ing the red light. An observational survey with video cameras was conducted to capture bicyclists’ crossing behaviours. Previous studies (e.g., Johnson et al., 2011, 2013; Wu et al., 2012) have provided an important contribution to literature by unravelling potential factors that are associated with bicyclists’ RLVs.


The present paper examines characteristics associated with bicyclists’ crossing behaviours when facing red lights at inter- sections. Using video cameras installed at selected intersections in Taoyuan County, Taiwan, examined include bicyclist, roadway, temporal, and environmental effects. This research may represent contributions to the growing literature on bicyclist safety, as well as filling in the major gap in extant literature that has seldom investigated the influential factors on cyclists’ RLVs. The contributions of the present study are two-folds: in terms of methodological contributions and empirical contributions.

Several factors were found to significantly increase the likelihood of bicyclists’ risky behaviours, most notably: intersections with short red-light duration, T/Y intersections, when riders were pupils in uniform, when riders were riding electric bicycles, when riders were unhelmeted.

The full reference for the paper is:

Pai, C., & Jou, R. (2013). Cyclists’ red-light running behaviours: An examination of risk-taking, opportunistic, and law-obeying behaviours. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 62, 191-198.

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