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Relaxation of laws after pilot scheme allowing riders to go straight on or turn right

Cyclists in Paris are to be allowed to ride through red traffic lights following a successful trial of the concept that began in 2012.

Panels fixed to the traffic light will authorise cyclists to go straight ahead on a red light or turn right, depending on the configuration of the junction in question.

The news follows a trial that began in 2012 in the Canal St-Martin district in the north east of the capital, and which was subsequently rolled out to 30kph zones across the city.

The pilot scheme found that allowing cyclists to go through red lights made cycle traffic more fluid and established that letting cyclists ride through red lights did not lead to more road traffic incidents.

Indeed, according to the city’s government, it removed conflict between bike riders and vehicles at traffic lights, and particularly those in which a driver has a blind spot.

Christophe Najdovski, deputy mayor in charge of transport, said: “Feedback was favorable during the testing phase conducted in the tenth arrondissement, and we have not seen any worsening of the safety of road users.”

Cyclists are reminded however that despite the relaxation of rules regarding red lights at applicable junctions, they must still exercise prudence and give way to motor vehicles as well as pedestrians.

When the pilot scheme was launched in 2012, Christine Lambert of the campaign group Mieux Se Déplacer à Bicyclette (MDB) said that that letting cyclists ride though red lights was sensible..

“Traffic lights are not a factor of security,” she said. “They were installed so that car drivers would let pedestrians cross the road, to regulate the flow of traffic and to moderate the speed.

“But bicycles don’t go fast and don’t make any noise. It’s idiotic to stop for nothing. You waste energy and it slows you down. The best safety assets for cyclists are your eyes and your brain.

“Some people think that the rules of the road should be the same for everyone but that is wrong.”
Similar initiatives are being trialled in a number of other cities in France including Nantes and Bordeaux, while laws permitting cyclists to turn right on a red light already exist in Germany and the Netherlands.

In 2010, former transport minister Lord Faulkner said that the Department for Transport would support proposals from Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s office to allow cyclists in the British capital to turn left at red traffic lights.

The Labour peer said: “We are ready to undertake a pilot if there is demand for it. We think that there is a lot to be said for there being at least an experiment on this, but we do not want to give cyclists the feeling that they are allowed to ignore red lights and just turn left or right when they think it is appropriate for them to do so; that has to be properly regulated.”

No such pilot was conducted in London, however, and left turning lorries continue to be the biggest cause of cyclist deaths in the city.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

15 comments

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Ramuz [262 posts] 1 year ago
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This has been everywhere in France for 2-3 years now.

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flathunt [239 posts] 1 year ago
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I think the Daily Mail would be broadly behind something similar in the UK.

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zanf [912 posts] 1 year ago
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This is being reported every where as "cyclists allowed to ignore lights" and only later pointing out that they have two tier lights installed and cyclists ones will be adjusted to allow them to proceed even if the vehicle ones are red.

Poor journalism.

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the little onion [157 posts] 1 year ago
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of course, cars can turn right on a red in the USA

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brooksby [2218 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

In 2010, former transport minister Lord Faulkner said ... “We are ready to undertake a pilot if there is demand for it. ... ”

I think maybe TfL ought to consider putting this idea out to a trial at a few junctions around London.

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levermonkey [681 posts] 1 year ago
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Please can we have that here.

Imagine the exchange,
London Cabbie "Red light jumping scum!"
Cyclist "Yep! Allowed to!"
London cabbie "Bastard! You should all be shot."
Cyclist "Fuckwit! I use Uber as well just to fuck you off!"
London cabbie " " Sadly response lost due to distance from irate cabbie.

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horizontal dropout [290 posts] 1 year ago
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The "upside down" triangle when used to denote priority is exclusively used for "Give Way". Is this in fact a Give Way or is this the first sign to break the rule?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_European_road_signs

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Ush [900 posts] 1 year ago
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flathunt wrote:

I think the Daily Mail would be broadly behind something similar in the UK.

 24 That gave me my first laugh of the day. Thank you. I can imagine their heads exploding.

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Ush [900 posts] 1 year ago
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zanf wrote:

This is being reported every where as "cyclists allowed to ignore lights" and only later pointing out that they have two tier lights installed and cyclists ones will be adjusted to allow them to proceed even if the vehicle ones are red.

That's not what it says at the french link supplied above.

It says that the authorities will stick a little sign (panneau) on certain lights which indicates to cyclists that they can ignore the red-light. Not all signalized intersections have that sign on them.

So, no "two tier lights" with adjustment of cyclist ones.

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Stephan Matthiesen [63 posts] 1 year ago
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It is indeed a Give Way sign. Cyclists have to give way to pedestrians, to cars and other cyclists. It essentially supersedes the traffic light and the junction becomes (for the cyclist) an uncontrolled junction with the standard priority rules.

The sign doesn't allow cyclists to just barge through the junction like you could on a (UK) green light. On the continent, a green light wouldn't give cars and bikes absolute priority anyway, you still have to give way to pedestrians and bicycles when you turn left or right.

The unusual thing about this sign is that it is one of the few signs that supersedes a working traffic light. Normally, traffic lights supersede signs (on continent, you often see priority signs in addition to lights, they become valid when the lights are switched off but have no meaning when the lights are active).

In this sense, the sign really "allows cyclists to ignore red lights", but it's not a general rule or change in the law, but a specific sign for an individual junction.

The equivalent sign in Germany is the greenarrow (Grünpfeil): a sign - not a traffic light! - with a green arrow on it that allows cyclists (and cars) to ignore traffic lights for certain directions.

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don simon [849 posts] 1 year ago
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British attitude is generally a bit different from European attitudes.
Can you imagine Arc De Triomphe driving in London without blood being spilt?

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Paeull [1 post] 1 year ago
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It is true, the rule is that you can cross the intersection but still giving way to the vehicles or pedestrians that have the green light.

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dazwan [322 posts] 1 year ago
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Am I the only cyclist who has cars that overtake then stop at the junction 10 yards down the road as close to the kerb as they can just so you can't filter past them on the nearside?

If this rule came in here, I imagine a lot of cars will do this just because they don't think its fair that cyclists are allowed to "ignore red lights" and they aren't. Plus in Cities you'll have the situation of being stuck behind the once a year commuters who aren't aware that you're allowed to do this.

Please UK government, if you're going to do this, have a long advertisement campaign to educate people about cyclists rights (maybe have people talk about it in Corrie and Eastenders as sadly they are more likely to pay attention to Ian Beal than a newsreader).

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don simon [849 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

Am I the only cyclist who has cars that overtake then stop at the junction 10 yards down the road as close to the kerb as they can just so you can't filter past them on the nearside?

That's what I'm talking about when I refer to the British attitude.
Cars have to overtake cyclists because cyclists hold them up ( cars are faster).
Cars will block cyclists in the city because bikes are able to go faster and it's not fair!!!  26

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Ramz [63 posts] 1 year ago
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In fact this rule could be implemented simpler in the UK because in Paris traffic joining a road (turning left onto said road) have priority over traffic already on the road. This is the point of those panneau : to clarify that cyclists proceed but give way to existing yragfic/pedestrians.