Bangalore’s traffic is governed less by traffic signals than by peer pressure. You can notice this mostly at the big signals, like the one at the intersection of Residency road and Museum road.
Engines start growling when the signal timer counts down from 10 and by the time it reaches 3 or 4, vehicles start moving. Red is yellow, yellow is green, and green is, well, green. This also happens in the view of the traffic cop who doesn’t do anything, probably for fear of getting run down.
If you stay at the signal without moving because you’re waiting for green, you’ll get auditory (honks) and visual (glares) feedback. I know, because I’m one of those people who usually waits.
Then, there’s the other side of the story–when the signal’s already yellow (and there’s enough time to stop), the vehicles accelerate and shoot through the now-red signal.
We should be seeing accidents regularly, because a vehicle that’s moved early would bump into into one that’s run a red signal. But, I’ve not seen it happen even once.
There’s a method to the madness–by moving in bunches, the vehicles create a “critical mass” that is intimidating and only the big boys (e.g. BMTC buses) can take them on. Factor in inertia (of the big guys) and possibly the wisdom of crowds and you could have an explanation for what happens.
It still doesn’t excuse breaking the law though