21 Jul 2015

Paris to allow cyclists to run red lights

Cyclists in Paris will be allowed to ride through red lights at some junctions in an effort to encourage the take-up of cycling in the capital.

Cyclists in Paris will be allowed to ignore traffic signs and red lights at certain junctions as the capital adopts a practice used in other French cities.

Cyclists will be able to ignore traffic signals when turning right or at T-junctions, and a total of 1,805 “cyclist only” signs will be installed throughout the city by the end of September, said Christophe Najdovski, deputy mayor of Paris for transport.

Some cyclists in the capital said they were pleased the city would be legalising a practice many engaged in already.

‘No impact on safety’

Mr Najdovski said the idea was inspired by successful implementations in other French cities such as Strasbourg, Nantes and Bordeaux.

The move follows a successful two-year-long trial conducted in the city’s 10th district, and is aimed at improving the flow of bike traffic in the capital as well as improving greener transport to help reduce record levels of pollution.

French road deaths rose by 3.7 per cent in 2014, but Mr Najdovski said the change in traffic policy would “have no impact on safety, in any case no negative impact”.

A total of 3,388 people died on French roads last year, according to the Interior Ministry, while “vulnerable” road users were affected disproportionately, with deaths among pedestrians rising by 8 per cent and cyclists by 7 per cent.

The French government announced more than 20 new road safety measures at the start of 2015 to help tackle the rise in road fatalities.

Paris authorities carried out an experiment for more than a year in one Paris district, “where we didn’t notice any significant difference in relation to the functioning of another intersection”, Mr Najdovski said.

“It can bring advantages to other cyclists,” he added. “Instead of being stacked between a vehicle and the pavement edge, for instance between a bus and the pavement edge, the cyclist can leave the intersection and start moving before cars start and this way he gains both safety and fluidity.”