Since petrol is above the $2/L mark now (almost US$6/gal), I've seen more and more people cycling on the roads. At work, some days there are more bikes in the shed on these freezing mornings than there were in the summer! This is a great thing. But I think there are more and more cycle newbies on the road.
Christchurch has pretty good cycle lanes on many streets, and since a few years ago the cycle lanes have the same legal status as vehicle traffic lanes. However, with this right comes responsibility. Specifically, cyclists have the responsibility to stop at red lights!
I see cyclists run red lights all the time. This morning, one nearly caused me to have an accident. I was riding up to a T intersection (say north, if the through road goes west-east). I was turning right, so I was between the two lanes of traffic going my way (this description is for driving on the left; if you drive on the right you'll have to turn everything around in your head). As I entered the intersection, I saw a cyclist to my left blithely cruising through the very red light for eastbound traffic. The van ahead of me was not doing a full right turn but was immediately turning into a driveway on their left. This is not unusual and would just cause me to slow down a bit. But the van noticed that they would be crossing the path of this other cyclist who ran the red light, and immediately came to a full stop. I had to stop too and almost ran into the back of the van. My focus of attention went from the other cyclist to the van, which caused me to temporarily forget that the other cyclist was fully responsible for causing the whole mess. Five seconds later, I realised that I should have told the other cyclist in no uncertain terms that they ran the red light and were in the wrong.
So, if any Christchurch cyclists are reading this, and you are either a newbie who doesn't realise that bicycles must follow the rules of the road too, or you're too jaded and think that the rules no longer apply to you, then please reconsider your responsibilities. Please stop at all red lights, just as you would if you were driving a car. To keep all cyclists safe, vehicle drivers must respect us, and running red lights undermines that respect.