Do not cycle through a red light, because the fine of 110 euros is a waste of money. And no, we are not going to tell you that the fine is only 80 euros if you get off first. That would be irresponsible. Our legal department certainly cannot advise you to cross on foot a few meters next to the red traffic light, because then it is suddenly legal. So we don’t do that either. Although that turns out to be the case.
We were curious: can you get a fine if you, as a pedestrian, just cross somewhere? And even more interesting: if you decide to cross a few meters next to a red traffic light for pedestrians, will you be fined? You would say that the traffic light (which is the correct term here, because it is red) is there for a reason. But in the Netherlands it turns out to be more of a kind of suggestion.
Are you allowed to cross a few meters next to a red traffic light as a pedestrian?
The police spokesperson confirms to Top Gear Netherlands that you are indeed allowed to cross a few meters further on. In fact, you have to be given priority by other traffic. “We do not recommend doing it, but as a pedestrian you would enjoy protection,” the spokesperson said.
In fact, as a pedestrian you should in principle be given priority everywhere when you cross, as long as you make your intention clear to other road users. So even at roundabouts outside built-up areas where there are no zebra crossings, as a driver you actually have to give way to pedestrians. Or if they want to go from one sidewalk to another in your neighborhood.
‘If you are crossing as a pedestrian at a pedestrian crossing, you are protected accordingly. If you cross somewhere else, you have much less of a problem, but a driver must give you the opportunity to cross if you make a clear attempt to do so,” the police spokesperson told TopGear Netherlands. It seems to us that many drivers are not aware of this, so eh… Don’t just walk onto the road to see what happens, we would say.
Back to the red light
It used to be that you were obliged to use a crossing if there was one. This rule was abolished in the Netherlands in the early 1990s. Since then you can cross anywhere you want, although there are still places (such as the highway) where you are simply not allowed as a pedestrian. In Belgium, if there is a crossing within 30 meters, you must use it as a crossing pedestrian.