I've noticed no difference in the general levels of hostility towards me whether I prioritise my own safety or whether I ride like a considerate, ROSPA certified, Sun-reader appeasing saint. Whichever way I behave I am a second class citizen considered beneath the contempt of many, despite my motoring qualifications and my road tax payments.
It is feasible that RLJing can increase one's own safety and that it can also facilitate the progress of others. To get a clear road ahead of traffic at an impending pinch point, for instance, achieves both.
The traffic systems in the UK are primarily designed around managing high volumes of motorised traffic that is measured in car sized units. If you operate outside of this base measurement, the systems built upon them do not have your interests at their core.
In response to the increased traffic flow created by housing developments, over the past 10 years traffic lights have been added at a junction near where I live that was previously a 'give way' junction. I, along with my fellow road users of every kind, managed to navigate this junction safely for years before bulbs were employed to dish out safety in alternate sequence.
With no other traffic in sight today I could navigate this junction in the same alert, cautionary manor as I did for years. But because there now happens to be a bulb glowing behind a red lens, by some I would be considered a suicidal idiot were I to do so.
Between 0700 and 0900 Monday to Friday, these lights manage the heavy traffic flow of rush hour to ensure alternate priorities for two competing queues of traffic. These competing queues do not exist outside this brief daily period, yet the lights operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And hey, that's the law. A red light is a red light. Your common sense is worthless. Legality and safety are mutually inclusive always. Red lights are for your own safety. Ask no questions, citizen. The way to create a better future in any aspect of life certainly wouldn't be to question the way things are. Oh no. Those who blindly accept the status quo are those best tasked with steering our society. Amen.
Motorists hate RLJers because somebody feels somebody else is getting away with something they can’t. For this same reason those on benefits have been successfully demonised, even among themselves. It is in our nature to so resent those we perceive as getting away with something we aren’t. This nature, like many darker aspects of human nature, is amplified by the well documented and universally accepted dehumanising effects brought on by being behind the wheel of a motor car. Appeasing those filled with this misplaced anger is the only valid point I’ve yet managed to find that comprehensively validates the simplistic, black and white argument that red=stop, green=go, anything else=wrong.
And as solutions go, that is like applying a sticking plaster to the knife you keep getting stabbed with.