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Where cyclists go through red lights
After Germany and the Netherlands, France authorises cyclists to go through red lights at junctions.
Either because they are in a hurry or they don’t want to stand still at the polluted intersections, some cyclists often decide to pass the red light, thus breaking traffic rules.
While in the Netherlands there are even double traffic lights that allow cyclists not to wait twice when crossing an “L” junction, there are countries such as France where cyclists have been authorised to go through red lights.
In 2012, in Paris, a pilot project was tested on15 crossroads in some 30 km/h zones. At a later stage, this experiment has been applied at a national level. The initiative follows a campaign to encourage the use of bicycles through which cyclists’ associations aim to increase the cycling frequency rates in France by 10 percent by 2020.
Basically, at crossroads, yellow signposts posted on traffic light poles inform cyclists that they can either turn to the right or go straight ahead even when the lights are red. When the light points up, cyclists are right before a “T” junction and they can go ahead when the cars are waiting for the green light.
The scheme of letting cyclists go through red lights is not a novelty in Germany and the Netherlands and it has been rolled out in many other French cities such as Nantes, Strasbourg and Bordeaux. Results are promising, considering that the number of accidents has not changed and that this decree has not caused conflicts between cyclists and drivers.
Although cyclists have the right to go through red lights, they should ride carefully near their peers who are going through green lights and near pedestrians who are crossing the road.
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