16 September 2010

Copenhagen To Allow Right Turns at Red Lights for Cyclists

Following the Arrow
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how right turns for cyclists should be allowed at red lights.

So it was refreshing to click onto a link sent by a number of Danish readers this morning. The headline was enough to get us excited: Copenhagen Ready to Allow Right Turns for Cyclists at Red Lights.

The national police have announced that it will be up to local authorities to decide if they wish to pass bylaws allowing right turns for cyclists at red lights as well as allowing them to continue straight on at T-intersections. The police have traditionally had a less than positive attitude towards making life easier for cyclists. Their announcement comes as a pleasant surprise.

Bike Parade - Front
The Mayor in charge the Technical and Environmental Administration [councillor for the Dept of Transport], Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard [second from left in the above photo] says:

"It's a fantastic, liberating announcment. We want to be the best bicycle city, therefore we need to get more people onto bikes. And the more we can spoil our cyclists, the more people we can get up onto their bicycles."

I like what the newspaper carrying the article - Politiken - writes after his quote:

"Today many intersections are set up in the old-fashioned way, where cyclists have to stop for red lights even though they could turn right without bothering the other traffic users."

Turning right on red is an everyday occurrence - I do it all day long if there are no pedestrians - and there is no reason that cyclists shouldn't be able to do so legally.

"In some places it's quite ridiculous (that it's not allowed)", says Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard. "And sometimes what people do is common sense", he adds.

I've read that last sentence happily again and again.

Subconscious Democracy and Desire
The above Desire Line is a fine example of following peoples common sense and the City adjusting the infrastructure to the peoples behaviour. Read more about the Desire Line in our earlier post.

Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard says he will ask the Dept of Transport to compile a list of places where, with few and simple adjustments, right turns can be implemented. Starting with the most obvious places to begin with.

David Hembrow has this great little film about right turns on red as well as other interesting advantages for cyclists from his town of Assens in the Netherlands. And here is his blogpost about the film. Copenhagen politicians? Are you watching?

I never did get my christmas wish fulfilled from last year - 30 km/h zones in the city - but this red light turning business is a lovely little pre-yule present.

Via: Politiken's article (in Danish) - "København klar til at tillade cykelsving for rødt"
Related article (in Danish) - Politiet: Lad cyklister højresvinge for rødt / Police: Let cyclists turn right at red lights.


l' homme au velo said...

Brilliant Idea long overdue it should have been made Official long ago. Now if we could only get this in Dublin it would be great. There are many Roads where this can apply.

Loads of side Roads off main Roads where it is very quiet and does not upset anyone. It would be great if it was made Legal if we could turn left,we drive on the Left in Ireland.

P said...

What's the rules for cycling on pedestrianised streets in Copenhagen?

I got stopped on a pedestrian street here in Glasgow and told to get off my bike, even though people do it all the time. Does Copenhagen ban this? Seems a bit daft to me.

portlandize.com said...

In Portland, in places where there are bike boxes installed (those big painted things where bicycles can sit in front of automobile traffic at a stoplight), automobiles are forbidden from turning right on red, but bicycles are allowed. As far as I know, in all other situations, everyone is allowed to turn right on red, but really automobiles should be forbidden in most cases, as right-hook collisions probably account for more than 50% of the collisions in Portland, where a pedestrian or cyclist is crossing the intersection legally and is hit by a car turning right - forbidding them turning right on red would certainly help reduce pedestrian collisions at least.

mikey2gorgeous said...

I am starting to wonder if we need to have ANY laws for bikes (except perhaps reckless endangerment)?

Right turn at red, wrong way down one way streets, stop signs treated as give ways - all these ideas have been trialled successfully in other places.

Our own Dept of Transport states:'Observation revealed no real factors to justify excluding cyclists from pedestrianised areas, suggesting that cycling could be more widely permitted without detriment to pedestrians'

Why not just completely deregulate bikes in the same way being a pedestrian is deregulated?

I have just started to get involved in our local (Bournemouth, UK) council bike forum - I nearly suggested it to them but I don't think they're ready for it yet!

Does anyone think this is not a good idea? I'd like the opinion from pro-cyclists on this point.

Yokota Fritz said...

That makes sense, so congrats!

You're post seems to imply that the police make the laws, though? Do they really have that much administrative authority? "The national police have announced that it will be up to local authorities to decide if they wish to pass bylaws allowing right turns for cyclists at red lights ... "

Yokota Fritz said...

"You're" --> "Your" : gah! I really do know better.

Mikael said...

the police have TOO much authority in this country. speed limits, for example, are under their command.

Mindy - Rims said...

Good stuff! I continue to enjoy reading these posts