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Déjà vu as Metropolitan Police decline to prosecute red light jumping driver (+ video)

Video shot last month in South London is almost identical to one the same cyclist submitted earlier this year, down to the exact location

There’s a strong sense of déjà vu in this video of a driver speeding through a traffic signal after it turned to red – it’s almost an exact replica, down to the specific location, of one we featured back in February where the Metropolitan Police declined to take action against a motorist filmed driving through a red light at Thornton Heath in South London.

On that occasion, police explained in detail to the cyclist who submitted the footage why they had decided to take no action, saying that there was “insufficient evidence to proceed” against the motorist – with the rationale primarily being that the driver would have been unable to stop safely in time.

> Video: When is a red light jumping driver not a red light jumping driver?

In the video shot in February, which appears below, both the front and rear wheels of the car involved were within the advanced stop line (ASL) box before the lights switched from amber to red.

But in the latest video, which appears at the top of this article and was filmed on 31 August, the light has clearly turned red well before the driver reaches the ASL box.

Despite that, the motorist was only issued with a warning letter, with the Metropolitan Police telling the rider who uploaded the footage: “The decision to warn the driver and not prosecute is based on the fact that the vehicle went through the red traffic signal just as it changed to red with no other road users affected.

“Due to this being a minor infringement the decision was made to send a warning.”

The cyclist told road.cc: “I am absolutely flabbergasted by the reason given from the Met police for only issuing a warning letter for this red light jump.

“So in effect, anyone can jump a red if there is no affect to other road users.

“So much for the Met police working to make our roads safer,” he added.

As we pointed out in our previous article, the Highway Code is clear on such situations, with Rule 178 stating:

Advanced stop lines. Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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14 comments

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Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
0 likes

So the cyclist submitting this footage got a response, a decription of and even a justification for the decision but a close passed cyclist is treated as a witness and receives no such information of justification.

How is that right?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Bungle_52 | 3 years ago
0 likes

Different Cops unfortunately. And even then he probably jumped through several hoops to get it. 

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wtjs | 3 years ago
4 likes

Well, Lancashire may go through motions of prosecuting this, but I think I have now seen through the dodge-they put such a low priority on cases like this, the court claims the Covid Sanction and it never actually gets to court. I have one case from 30.9.19 (a year ago today!) which was due for hearing in April and still hasn't been given a date.

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lukei1 | 3 years ago
3 likes

Yup, similar has happened to me. The Met seem to palm off any case that they don't consider a 100% chance of victory at Magistrates Court. They have basically told me the driver needs to have a solid 2 seconds or so of red light, otherwise they might be let off. I've even sent in video of a Coach jumping a red light and that was not actioned, it just seems so soft-touch for an offence that is so blatant, everyone knows its wrong.

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Sriracha replied to lukei1 | 3 years ago
11 likes
lukei1 wrote:

Yup, similar has happened to me. The Met seem to palm off any case that they don't consider a 100% chance of victory at Magistrates Court. They have basically told me the driver needs to have a solid 2 seconds or so of red light, otherwise they might be let off. I've even sent in video of a Coach jumping a red light and that was not actioned, it just seems so soft-touch for an offence that is so blatant, everyone knows its wrong.

The traffic light will already have been on Amber for three seconds, with green extinguished. The Amber phase is precisely to allow for reaction time and so on, it does not need to be allotted a second time over within the red phase. The courts are making up the law, which is not their role.

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wtjs replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
7 likes

 The courts are making up the law, which is not their role.

I think it's more that they're trying to let driver off, because they're drivers and want to crash through red lights themselves. The lights shown on my picture below are indeed on amber for exactly 3 seconds, alhough I don't think they're all the same. The dangerous drivers view the amber light as a signal to speed up, so are often passing through the A6 lights below at 60+ mph

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brooksby replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
4 likes
Sriracha wrote:

The traffic light will already have been on Amber for three seconds, with green extinguished. The Amber phase is precisely to allow for reaction time and so on, it does not need to be allotted a second time over within the red phase. The courts are making up the law, which is not their role.

"Yes, I know that's the stop line.

But, just in case, we'll put another stop line over here a bit further on.

And, just in case someone's not paying attention to that, we'll paint another one.

Will that do?"

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Captain Badger replied to lukei1 | 3 years ago
1 like

Ludicrous. I thought that the 2 seconds of red light was coloured amber.....

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quiff replied to Captain Badger | 3 years ago
1 like

Exactly. Highway Code: "AMBER means ‘Stop’ at the stop line. You may go on only if the AMBER appears after you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident".

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jackincaves replied to lukei1 | 3 years ago
2 likes

I submitted this video and was told the driver got a warning letter, despite it being 3s between the light turning red and him passing through.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju_T4CSWtXE 

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Spangly Shiny replied to jackincaves | 3 years ago
0 likes

Ooooh, that's some seriously sqeeky brakes tou got there.

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iandusud replied to jackincaves | 3 years ago
1 like

It's all rather depressing really. I'm not a vindeictive person and don't particularly want to see people punished, especially for genuine mistakes, but a moving car is a very dangerous thing and they kill 4 people per day in the UK so why don't the police take this sort of thing seriously? 

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wtjs replied to iandusud | 3 years ago
0 likes

 I'm not a vindictive person and don't particularly want to see people punished

I am and do. I was not far from being terminated by an A6 driver coming through the red lights illustrated below at 60 mph. This is from one of the Loophole Lawyers Inc. websites:

The minimum penalty for running a red light is 3 points and a £100 fine (the points will remain on the driver’s licence for four years). Prosecution may occur where any part of a motor vehicle crosses the white line at a red traffic light. Increased penalties may be imposed to reflect more severe offences.

If it's left up to the police there will be no penalty at all. They have to be harassed by all means available, because the odds are highly stacked in favour of law breaking motorists. 

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iandusud replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
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Don't misunderstand me, I would be the first one to want to see that person convicted and suitably sentenced, preferably with losing their licence. The point I was trying to make is that if the police don't take this sort of thing seriously it will only continue with the sort of consequences we all know about.

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