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The mixed pedestrian-cyclist light was tested in Strasbourg (67). Obviously, this was satisfactory since a decree of the Ministry of the Interior of June 13, 2022, published in the Official Journal of July 5, 2022 generalizes this signaling. Concretely compared to a pedestrian light, the pedestrian-cyclist light as its name suggests displays a pedestrian and a bicycle. The “red/green man” is no longer alone. The objective is to clearly indicate to cyclists who may be on a cycle lane adjacent to a crosswalk that they must stop or can pass. Clarifying the rules is always a plus for safety. Note that this is not a novelty in the world since many countries have already adopted it.
Another general novelty: the countdown. These counts are often encountered in work zones with temporary fires. The idea here is to show pedestrians a countdown before the man turns green. Tested in Strasbourg (67), Vannes (56) and Neuilly-sur-Seine (92), this calculation improved respect for fire by up to 5% according to the local studies of the town halls concerned by the experiment. Clearly, when we know that there are for example 15 seconds of red light left, we are more inclined to wait than to go to red, even if it means taking a risk. Here again, France is late since the countdown pedestrian light exists in many countries. Some add the countdown to the green man.
Of course, all this is not magic. Pedestrians and cyclists have paid a heavy price in the 2021 road fatality figures. 414 pedestrians killed as well as 227 cyclists. If some cyclists kill themselves by falling (about 70), the majority are hit by a motorist (responsible or not). Anything that can improve the coexistence of means of transport is good to take. The countdown for motorized traffic lights is not on the agenda for the moment. Some studies show an anticipation of the green light aided by the countdown.
Bike lock and M12 panel, these little known
By the way, do you know the bike lock and the M12 panel? The bike lock is not new. It was introduced into the Highway Code in 1998! But, it is still ignored by a bunch of drivers. It is a protected area in front of the traffic lights. Clearly, there are two lines of effect of the lights: one for bicycles (and only bicycles! not scooters and motorcycles) and another line of effect, moved back for motorized vehicles. This airlock allows cyclists to be theoretically protected from a vehicle that would come up to them despite the minimum distance of 1 m in built-up areas.
And you know it, do you respect it? Be aware that as a motorist or motorcyclist, exceeding his line of effect of the lights is considered to run a red light. It is an offense defined in article R412-30 of the Highway Code. And that’s worth a 4th class fine.
As for the M12 panel, it is more recent and less widespread throughout the territory. It is a small triangular sign (give way) for cyclists. It authorizes them to pass through a red light, depending on the direction they then take and the direction displayed on the panel.
Let’s share the road in all cordiality
Experienced from 2008 in France, they are also very often unknown to drivers who then think “all cyclists run red lights” (gromming). Be careful though, it’s a give way and not a priority. The cyclist must:
- let pedestrians who have the green light pass
- give way to vehicles coming from other lanes
- walk through the fire once all priorities have been ceded
With these almost continuous additions of new rules and new signals, it may be appropriate to revise your code regularly with said new features. Putting yourself in the shoes of an urban cyclist can also open your eyes to certain behaviors of motorists of which you are not necessarily fully aware behind the wheel. The road is shared, we often forget it.
The highway code constantly incorporates new rules and new signs. After an experiment in Strasbourg, the “pedestrian-cyclist light” should provide clearer information for bicycles. The pedestrian countdown should also calm the impatient and avoid crossings at red lights.