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New type of traffic light aims to improve cyclist safety in France

Cyclist deaths were four times higher in May than they were in the same month in 2019

The new lights will include symbols for bikes as well as pedestrians Pic: Screenshot / Ministère de l'Intérieur

A new type of traffic light is being rolled out across France to remind cyclists and pedestrians to respect the rules of the road and improve safety. It comes after cyclist deaths have increased fourfold in two years.

The lights will be used when a cycling lane is found next to a pedestrian path. They include both the symbol for a ‘walking man’ (like traditional pedestrian crossings) and the bike symbol for cyclists.

New signs will also show how long pedestrians have to wait before crossing and the amount of time available to cross before the lights change again.

Road safety agency la Sécurité routière unveiled the new signs and light design in the Journal Officiel on July 5. The new system will be incorporated into the official Code de la route (highway code).

The decree states that the new signs and traffic lights will make it easier for pedestrians to cross at dedicated crossings, and encourage cyclists to move out of the way.

The new signs and lights have been successfully trialled in Strasbourg, Vannes and Neuilly-sur-Seine, where pedestrians welcomed their introduction. Half of the pedestrians polled said that the signs encouraged them to change their behaviour and respect the crossing rules.

It comes as cyclist deaths increased fourfold in May of this year when compared to May 2019, totalling 22 as opposed to six. 

The decree also provides for new signs that remind drivers of the safety distances required between vehicles in tunnels. The system was successfully trialled in the Foix tunnel in Ariège.

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