The short answer is because it is the law and we must obey the law. But why is this the law? So pedestrians can safely cross the road. But if there are no pedestrians crossing because they have already passed or for some other reason, then we are sitting around waiting just because it is the law even though the reason for the law has passed and there is no safety benefit if there are no pedestrians crossing the road. It would seem to me that providing you come to a stop to ensure that there are no pedestrians left to cross the road, it would be safe to proceed even if the light was still red, but we can't because of the law. Therefore maybe the law which is providing no benefit, only hinderence, should be changed to allow bicycles to proceed after they have stopped for a red light at a pedestrian crossing if there are no pedestrians crossing (ie treat it like a zebra crossing). Admittedly drivers of motor vehicles could argue similarly and may well have a case, but while it might be possible a driver may not see a pedestrian in poor visibility, a cyclist would be unlikely to miss them and a bicycle taking off from stationary would be unlikely to result in any harm. Indeed such a system could improve safety by allowing cyclists to get ahead of a wave of traffic where they can be seen.
Perhaps a cycling friendly council such as Adelaide could trial such a system with signs on the lights advising drivers and cyclists of the rule.
Why must any traffic give way to ghost vehicles that aren't there?
In the US after 10 pm many stop lights go to Main road flash yellow and side road flash red mode
Why must we wait at any red light when there are no vehicles coming. It happens all the time (bike or car), especially red 'no right turn" arrows at intersections. The reason is if it's not a black and white rule there are those who will try and sneak across inappropriately. At least if it no go on Red there's no room for interpretation.
What;s a few seconds at a light cost anyway, good time to have a drink and a stretch.
Bonnie, I did not know that lights for cyclists had been approved in Australia. A good safety feature.
How about posting on Adelaide BUG that you would like this in our CBD? The ACC is seeking feedback from cyclists for its Bicycle Action Plan until 19-Mar-2011. The ACC is reading the Adelaide BUG posts.