At the junction of Hurst Street and Sherlock Street, the traffic lights include a special little crossing just for cyclists. You can see the little bike and arrow painted on the pavement right at the top of the picture. There's a contraflow cycle lane running down Hurst Street, and the crossing lets cyclists across join Sherlock Street and pedal their way out of the city centre.
At least I assume that's what it's for, because that's how I've used it in the past. I've occasionally felt it made me wait a bit, but it's little light turned green and away I want. Last night, however, it really, really didn't want me to cycle home from the pub.
I arrived at the crossing with the button pressed and the WAIT light already lit up, although there was no one else waiting. The traffic lights went through one full cycle, without the cycle light going green. The traffic lights went through another full cycle. Things were starting to get ridiculous, but I carried on waiting. The lights went through another full cycle. I waited through one further full cycle of the lights just to be sure, but the little green bike still refused to light up for me. I waited until there was no traffic and then, like the socialist-vegetarian-atheist-political-enthusiast-and-others potential terrorist I am, ran the red light.
As I said, I've used this crossing before. While I've sometimes felt it made me wait a bit, it's never blatently refused to change for me. Perhaps it's broken? Perhaps there are different timings at different times of the day, to make us post-pub cylists wait? The only other thing I can think of is there was traffic coming north-west up Hurst Street from Bishop Street. That's the road coming diagonally in from the right. It's got one of the magic induction loops, so the lights to let traffic through only goes green when there's actually someone there*. Perhaps that light changing trumps the cycle crossing, so everything resets and we all go round again. If the traffic keeps coming, like the seemingly unending trail of minicabs last night, the cyclists just have to wait and wait and wait. If that's the case, then obviously my indignation is entirely unjustified. Can't hold up the car traffic, can we?* Unless you're on a bike, in which case the loop doesn't pick you up, and you stare at a red light forever.