CYCLISTS admit to jumping red lights, but insist it's only for their own safety.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has revealed 57 per cent of cyclists have jumped a red light at least once, with 14 per cent saying they do so regularly or sometimes.
The main reason given for jumping lights in the online poll was because it was safer to get ahead of other traffic. And 43 per cent said they would be less likely to jump red lights if advanced stop lines were more strongly enforced.
Poor road layout and junctions were a top concern for 48 per cent of the cyclists polled.
Alan Williams, chairman of Cheltenham and County Cycling Club, said: "Our club doesn't condone jumping red lights under any circumstances.
"If cyclists jump red lights in front of cars it also puts the drivers' backs up and makes them think cyclists aren't obeying the law."
And John Mallows, chairman of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign, said jumping red lights was more dangerous for drivers than cyclists "as it's the cyclist themselves rather than others who are put at risk."
He said: "It would be better if traffic light systems were designed with cyclists in mind, as they are in many other countries.
"We can only encourage everyone to stick to the law, especially keeping to speed limits, which about 75 per cent don't when driving."
Another result showed 73 per cent of cyclists rode on the pavement, because the cycle paths don't join up completely and to avoid busy sections of roads.
The online poll also found 94 per cent of cyclists had seen a driver cross an advanced stop line – the box designed to keep cyclists safe at the front of the queue at traffic lights. Mr Williams urged drivers to give people on two wheels the space they need at junctions.
He said: "It's quite a problem in Cheltenham. I quite often see cars go in the cyclist-only area. It means the cyclist is left in limbo. They either have to go in front of the line, in which case they are possibly in the way of other traffic or they have to go behind the car which means they are right in the medley of traffic. It causes cyclists real problems."
However, Cheltenham resident Marina Coles was twice nearly struck by people riding on the pavement outside her Devon Avenue home in 2008.
The pensioner said it was still happening now but asking cyclists not to do so resulted in her being verbally abused.
She said: "They just say that they can ride on the pavement. If you say anything to them, you get abuse left, right and centre. It's not fair for them to do it here."