It makes an impressive headline on the BBC: Paris to let cyclists skip red lights. It's also a bit of an exaggeration.
It's all part of a campaign by Paris to get more people on bikes and to "help smooth the flow of traffic." Unlike much of North America, in France, drivers cannot turn right on a red light unless there is a special amber arrow. Cyclists are supposed to follow the same rule. But sometimes there is little logic in that, such as when making a right turn or at a T intersection.
Vaccaro, whose firm represents cyclists involved in accidents or who have received a summons, said that the NYPD will set up checkpoints at T intersections because “it’s the easiest tickets for police officers to write. I think for red lights they should be exercising discretion,” he said. “A T-crossing scenario in a bike lane is a waste of resources.”
It's about time that authorities realized that rules designed for cars shouldn't automatically apply to bikes. Being able to turn right on a red while cycling (when a car or truck cannot) could actually reduce accidents like right hooks. Going through a T intersection on a bike really just logical, since cyclists are not usually competing for the lane. This is all a welcome recognition that bikes are different from cars and should be regulated accordingly. Bravo Paris.
Now if we could only have a grown up conversation about stop signs.