Cyclists in Paris can now legally ride through some red traffic lights in the city
In a bid to improve road safety and to encourage cycling in the capital, Parisian cyclists can now turn right or go straight ahead at traffic lights - even when the lights are red for cars.
A pilot scheme launched by the City of Paris in 2012 had revealed that allowing cyclists to treat red lights as yield signs would ease bike traffic in the city, would not lead to more road accidents, and could even prevent the accidents that sometimes arise due to cyclists in drivers’ blind spots.
A new policy permitting cyclists to ride through red lights under certain conditions will therefore be rolled out between July and the end of September. New signs will indicate when bikes can either turn right or go straight ahead, even when the lights for cars are on red. In all cases, cyclists will still need to yield to pedestrians and any other vehicles that have the right of way.
So how does it work?
Signs mark the intersections where crossing red lights is permitted. If there is no such sign under the lights, cyclists must respect the traffic signals or receive a fine.
Figure 1: The bicycle is turning right. The traffic light is red for cars, but the sign underneath the lights allows bikes to turn right.
Figure 2: The bicycle is going straight ahead. The traffic light is red for cars, but the sign underneath the lights allows bikes go straight ahead.
Cyclists still need to be careful and must respect the priority given to other road users in all circumstances, particularly traffic coming from the left and pedestrians, to which they should always give way.