Okay, so this is my issue. On my commute home there is a spot where there is a light straight ahead, before the white line the cycle lane mergers with the path on the left. Does this mean i can bypass the light, or am i jumping it if it is red?

cycle path

  • Check your local laws, but in most places, if the cycle path is built into the road you typically have to follow the flow signals (so you do have to stop at a red light), even though it's obviously safe to continue going.
    – Batman
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 19:52
  • 1
    That photo looks like a on-road bicycle lane to me, not a separated bicycle path/track... Does it change up at the intersection?
    – freiheit
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 20:03
  • 1
    Thank you for the comments. for clarification, the separated bike lane feeds directly out of the bike box - you do not cross any white lines to gain access to it. Also thank you for the appropriate tag edits, my first post... Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 22:33
  • 1
    The essential question is does the green cycle path turn off the road before or after the traffic light. If it's before it then it's ok to proceed.
    – andy256
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 23:18
  • 1
    Since I regularly see drivers getting this wrong, it's worth being clear: the light only controls the stop line. If you don't cross a line, it doesn't matter where the light is or what colour it's showing.
    – Useless
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 9:36

2 Answers 2


The light controls the stop line (and, if there is one, the advance stop line).

I can't tell from the streetview image, or from streetview itself or the satellite view, whether the cycle path moves from the road to the footway before the stop line or not.

If it does - you don't have to cross the line, and the light doesn't affect you (so long as you follow the cycle path onto the footway).

If it doesn't, or if you choose to stay on the road, you'll be crossing the line and controlled by the light.


It depends totally on the design of the cycle way. Here are three examples, all from the same intersection in Christchurch, New Zealand. Note, we ride/drive on the left side of the road.

Satellite View https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-43.4510769,172.6285092,165m/data=!3m1!1e3

enter image description here

  1. Yes totally okay to bypass these lights.
  2. Hell no! its clearly obvious that this is a stop on red.
  3. Ambiguous, and sometimes flouted by cyclists. Personally I always stop on red here, but others might not.

  • This shows the entrance ramp to #1. Its coloured footpath ("colored sidewalk") showing clearly that the cyclist is intended to go up here. The reason is that there are a lot of massive trucks turning left, and it has happened that turning trucks have flattened cyclists here and similar intersections elsewhere.

enter image description here

  • ...and this is the exit showing clearly the expectation cycles will return to the road and not on the footpath/sidewalk. Note the sign on the pole.

enter image description here

  • Showing arrow #2 - its blatantly obvious this is a stop-on-red. There's no way a bike would reasonably expect to cross here when the light is red. Added for completeness.

enter image description here

  • Finally, the ambiguous case #3 I personally always stop here but not all cyclists do, especially in a howling tailwind. It may be possible to swerve up onto the footpath, but footpath riding is illegal here unless you're a postman or a small child or your wheels are smaller than 12"
    Going straight forward through the red light would be running a red-light but we know some cyclists are a law unto themselves.

enter image description here

  • 3
    #3 is crystal clear. There's a stop line across the cycle lane and a traffic light. The red light means stop. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 22:46
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby yes which is why I stop. But its commonly flouted by some cyclists, either by riding on or taking the footpath.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 23:15
  • 2
    Sure, so it's not ambiguous: it's just commonly disregarded. Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 10:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.