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Country would join Germany, France and Holland in allowing manoeuvre

Belgium has taken the first steps towards allowing its cyclists to turn right at junctions when traffic lights are set to red.

Their equivalent of the Department for Transport, the Commission de l'infrastructure de la Chambre, has accpeted a proposal to “soften” the traffic laws for cyclist and allow Belgium’s various communes and regions to permit the manoeuvre within their jurisdiction using signage at designated junctions, if they wish to do so.

Allowing a right turn on red for cyclists will, say its proponents, make cycling a much more attractive proposition than taking a car or bus in major cities. They say in Brussels it will reduce the time cyclists spend waiting at traffic lights by up to 20%.
The law will need to be ratified in Belgium’s main parliament, but it will face some high-level opposition.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Etienne Schouppe is a long-time opponent of the law. He said: “A red light should remain a red light: an unambiguous instruction to stop and give way.”

Belgium’s main motoring association, Touring, meanwhile has called the new law “absurd and dangerous” stating that it “will not improve road safety for pedestrians or cyclists.”

But in other European countries, notably the Netherlands, Germany and France cyclists are already permitted to turn right at junctions fitted with the appropriate signage and the system is said to work well.

Earlier this year the RAC Foundation stated in a report that there may be a case for allowing cyclists in the UK to turn left on red, in part  to avoid the type of accidents caused by left-turning lorries.

The Foundation suggested that the Department for Transport should trial the idea. Britain has approximately 25,000 sets of traffic lights, 6000 of which are in London.
 

5 comments

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graemeshaw [23 posts] 5 years ago
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Based on a weekend in Brussels last year, I thought cars were already able to make a right turn on red...?

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joemmo [1164 posts] 5 years ago
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wouldn't this encouraging more filtering up the inside which is more likely to get people left hooked when they get caught out on a changing light? I can't see how this would work with light controlled ped crossings either, could a cyclist turn left and go through a stream of people crossing?

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Shiny Flu [84 posts] 5 years ago
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I'd like to add that Germany has very very few of these signs. They're basically the same signs that the cars get so in a way isn't that safe if you're both trying to turn right etc.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 5 years ago
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Based on my many trips to Brussels, it's questionable how many road users pay close attention to the rules anyway. But it's an interesting move.

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kaptnkrunch [57 posts] 5 years ago
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I always run the red if there's truck behind me. If you pay attention to what you're doing then it can be safer to run reds. On the point about people coming up the inside: agreed, but that can be designed out by having the entrance to the cycling boxes at lights on the right hand side rather than the left. I tend to always go up the outside, you're less likely to run into an idiot parked in a cycle lane, or a bus stop, or broken glass in the gutter etc.