Let city cyclists run red lights: politicians

Let city cyclists run red lights: politicians
Stockholm politicians are arguing that the city’s cyclists be allowed to run red lights and cycle against one-way traffic in order to avoid congestion and improve the situation for those who chose to travel by bicycle.

According to city councillor Per Ankersjö, responsible for the city environment, there are many who already are breaking the rules.

“As a cyclist you want to feel free and it is not as easy to go an extra two blocks as if you are in a car. There is a risk that people ignore the rules anyway, and then it is better to make it legal in an orderly fashion,” he said to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

In many other countries, traffic rules are less severe on cyclists than on those travelling by car. But in order to change the regulations in Sweden, there may be a need for new legislation. Stockholm City is now pursuing the question with the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen), according to DN.

But keen cyclist Anders Ygerman of the Social Democrats, chairman of the Riksdag’s committee on traffic, thinks that changing the legislation is not the right way to improve conditions for cyclists in the cities.

“Changing traffic regulations for cyclists doesn’t seem like a good solution to me. Instead I think that a lot could be done locally to prevent cyclists to run red lights by separating cycle paths from the street,” Ygerman said.

The government appointed a commission on cycling in September last year.

“There is currently a governmental review on traffic regulations from a cycling perspective going on and these questions will certainly be part of what is looked at,” said Niclas Nilsson of the Swedish Transport Agency to news agency TT.

According to DN, the number of cyclists in Stockholm is three times as high today as it was in the 1990’s. The highest increase has occurred in the last five years. Cycle paths are more cramped than ever and queues are frequently formed.

But according to prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, road-users’ safety must come first.

“Traffic safety must be the starting point. If large groups of road-users are allowed not to follow traffic regulations there is an increased risk, especially for cyclists who are less protected than drivers,” he said to TT, adding that the city environment usually is tough on cyclists.

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