Should cyclists be allowed to turn left at red?

allowing cyclists to go left at redHaving yesterday revealed the amount of time cyclists spend at red lights there is one suggestion that the Mayor of London supports that could make a big difference. Simply allowing cyclists to make a left turn at a red light. Currently, doing this incurs a £30 fine if you are caught. Yet, some cyclists will readily admit to undertaking this generally safe manoeuvre.

This seemingly small change is well supported by organisations such as the London Cycling Campaign. It’s not just the benefit of getting to your destination faster but it is also part of making cycling safer. The LCC see it as part of their campaign to make places more permeable to cyclists thus making cycling more attractive.

The bad news is, this kind of positive change to the law is slow to implement. All the Mayor really has the power to do is go up to the Department for Transport and request they review it. They then have to run a trial to see if it works before starting to make plans to change the law countrywide. That is if they feel it is even worth considering in the first instance.

David Love, founder of the 3 Feet Please campaign, said “It is a good idea however, measures to change driver behaviour would have greater overall impact on cyclist safety and could be brought in earlier and at a considerably lower cost”.

Turning right on red is the law in America where they drive on the other side of the road. A red light is instead treated as a stop sign. Both drivers and cyclists are allowed to make a safe judgement and proceed accordingly. This is not the only example of allowing road users to exercise their common sense. In some cities in Germany traffic lights are switched off late at night when traffic dies down. Drivers are expected to check at the traffic light rather than proceeding without giving it any thought.

Do you think cyclists should be allowed to turn left at red?


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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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