Proposed Cyclists ‘Left turn’ against red lights

At our meeting in September, it was agreed to draft a motion on supporting a change in the law to allow for some traffic lights to be treated as “yield” or “give way” signals by cyclists, based on experience in France.

Motion: That the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas support a change in Road Traffic legislation to allow cyclists, in certain situations, to pass a red traffic signal, but to give way to any pedestrian or vehicle which is already crossing the junction.  These situations would include signal controlled pedestrian crossings, left turns, or junctions where there is no traffic entering or leaving from the left.  A suitable road sign will be placed below the traffic lights to identify such junctions.

Rationale:

  • Traffic lights are designed to manage larger vehicles.
  • Cyclists have more of an instinct for self preservation, as the risks are greater to themselves.
  • The need to encourage more cyclists to use the roads and to improve safety as cyclists are less likely to congregate in blind spots to the left of cars at corners.
  • Physics: cyclists need to summon up physical energy to start/ stop at traffic lights.  Motorists merely have to apply a small amount of pressure to a pedal.

Implications/ Other points/Cons:

  • Cyclists and pedestrians will need to show increased responsibility and respect for each other at conflict points.
  • Big resistance from motorists some of whom will resent being left at lights by cyclists
  • Lack of knowledge of existing road legislation (Advance stop lines etc) by motorists
  • Not the culture of councils in Ireland to do this:
  • On the spot fines, cyclist lights in Dublin which operate at the same sequence as vehicle lights etc.)

 

Article 13 of S.I. No. 171/1962 – Road Traffic (Signs) Regulations, 1962. (see http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1962/si/171/made/en/print ) 3) (a) When a lamp shows a red light it shall signify that the stream of traffic controlled by such signal shall not proceed beyond the stop line on the roadway at such signal, or beyond the signal if there is no stop line.

News articles showing how it has been done in France:

http://next.paris.fr/english/english/cyclists-in-paris-can-now-legally-ride-through-some-red-traffic-lights-in-the-city/rub_8118_actu_156536_port_19237

http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/france-grants-cyclists-right-run-red-lights.html

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