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Thursday 18 September 2014

City cyclists gearing up for new lights at traffic junctions

Claire McCormack

Published 07/07/2014 | 02:30

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Minister Alan Kelly gets a push from the Mayor of Limerick Michael Sheahan at the unveiling of one of the Limerick city bikes earlier this month. Photo Liam Burke/Press 22
Minister Alan Kelly gets a push from the Mayor of Limerick Michael Sheahan at the unveiling of one of the Limerick city bikes earlier this month. Photo Liam Burke/Press 22

CYCLISTS will be given a head start at newly-installed bicycle traffic lights to help make Dublin city more bike friendly.

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Over the past month, Dublin City Council (DCC) has installed more than a dozen lights at busy junctions across the city.

A council spokesman last night confirmed they plan to introduce a "lead time for cyclists" which would allow them move on safely ahead of the cars when a light is changing.

However, this will not be introduced until all road users including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are familiar with the bicycle traffic lights.

"In the coming years, more of these green lights for cyclists will appear right across the city as more cycle lanes are introduced," the council spokesman said.

The council said it does not have the figure of the number of 'green lights' that apply to cyclists yet and it was unable to provide the costs of the lights.

Ciaran Cuffe, chairman of the transport strategic policy committee at DCC, said allowing cyclists to move off early would improve safety for all road users.

"The first second or two when the lights turn green can be dangerous for cyclists and motorists; cars don't want bikes crashing into them and the cyclists can get a bit nervous of cars accelerating," said Mr Cuffe, who cycles and drives in the city.

"It's good to see the lights being installed and the thing is now to go the extra yard and bring in the advanced lights," said Mr Cuffe, a Green Party councillor. "They would reduce the conflict at traffic lights and this is what they do in many other countries and I think it would make sense to bring it in here."

Dr Michael McKillen, spokesperson for the Dublin Cycling Campaign, now hopes authorities will move to include advance stop lines, boxes and cycling logos so drivers can clearly see them.

"Junctions are the place where approximately 70pc of all accidents where cyclists are killed or injured take place," he said. "We're talking about two or three second delays, what's that in a lifetime if it saves a life?."

By 2020, the government's National Cycling Promotion Framework aims to have 10pc of all commuting daily trips done by bicycle and experts say advanced lights get more people on their bikes.

Irish Independent

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