The Way Some Cyclists Run Redlights Is A Demonstration Of Pathological Tendencies

It may be rather humbuggy or me on this day after Christmas to discuss such things, and if so, I’ll wear that hat. Because case in point: On Christmas Eve after stopping at a Sunset Boulevard spice shop that turned out disappointingly to be closed, I rolled back onto the boulevard and headed westbound, past another cyclist who was coming off the curb and going in the same direction.

I arrived at the red light at Hyperion and stopped (as I do for all red lights), and the other cyclist passed slowly between me and the curb. I knew right away she wouldn’t be bothered with obeying the law and sure enough, the young lady just keeeept oooon gooooooing, casually rolling across Hyperion through the red with a seeming nonchalant air of it being totally okey dokey to do so.

Of course, I caught the episode on my handlebar cam during the timelapse I was making of my last-minute shopping excursion (that I clipped into the brief Quicktime vid below, which you should be able to play beginning to end and/or scroll through frame-by-frame with your arrow keys):

The irony, of course (as evidenced by the fact that once I had the green light, I was able to catch up to her little more than a block away) is that she was in no hurry whatsoever. It wasn’t a conscious choice to run the light, it’s just that she didn’t  know she was doing anything wrong.

Sure, that’s a broad judgmental conclusion to jump to, but is it entirely baseless?  Hardly, given the prevalence of the segment of the bike riding population she represents — whether she wanted to or not.

Having seen so many cyclists summarily jump reds, I’ve long thought about how they can be so self-centeredly blatant and flagrant in their disregard — both for the law and for any resultant social disapproval.

And what I’d yet to consider is that I was overthinking it. Such acts may not be done in defiance or entitlement or just plain laziness. It may simply be that they don’t see the act of running a red light as blatant and flagrant, much less in disregard of any law or peer perception. In essence it’s a mental disconnect between right and wrong.

Certainly if you put this young lady behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, she wouldn’t do what she did (or at least one would hope so). But sit her backside on a bike saddle and she reverts to almost a childlike lack of awareness as she glides across the intersection unconscious of any potential danger or disrespect from the rest of us sitting at the intersection respecting the law.

It would be easy of me to excuse such things to quaint innocence. But like most red runners I encounter this young lady is no child who hasn’t yet learned the difference between right and wrong or the consequences of her bad decisions. She’s an adult who should know better, but clearly demonstrates she does not.

That’s not innocent. That’s pathological.