Vienna Cycling Officer Martin Blum and City Councilor for Mobility Ulli Sima , Source: City of Vienna

Pedal power prevails: Vienna bikes can turn right at a red light

Pedal power prevails: Vienna bikes can turn right at a red light

The city handpicked 170 locations for introducing the new regulation safely

Last week, local authorities in Vienna introduced a new traffic rule, enabling cyclists to make a right turn at a red light in 170 locations. This unique traffic regulation is generally quite rare in the EU, however, it is a widespread practice in the United States, especially for cars.

At the same, this decision shows that local authorities are willing to make a legal distinction between cars and cyclists as road users. In most cities, bikes are subject to a lot of the same rules cars are and it often makes little sense considering that the two modes of transportation are fundamentally different.

Additionally, the policy aims to give cyclists a quicker way to get by, making it an even more attractive alternative mobility option for the urban environment.

A cautious decision

The move to allow cyclists to turn right at a red light is the result of a pilot project that began with 10 traffic lights. The success of the project paved the way for the local government to expand the initiative across the city, providing cyclists with more freedom to navigate the streets.

However, the new rule does not give cyclists carte blanche to ignore the safety of other road users. Instead, it offers an additional option to navigate the city safely and sustainably. According to the new regulations, in each of the carefully picked 170 locations cyclists will turn from one bike lane to another.

This means that cyclists will not be cutting across car lanes, reducing the likelihood of accidents and providing a safer environment for everyone on the road. Additionally, bikes need to slow to a stop before making the turn, which would help with pedestrian safety and avoiding cars from oncoming traffic.

Mobility Councillor Ulli Sima was quoted in a press statement explaining that with this year’s planned 25 million euro investment into cycling infrastructure, this development would reduce waiting times and make bikes an even better option for urban travel.

As cities around the world grapple with the challenges of climate change and urbanization, initiatives like this offer a path forward towards a more sustainable future.



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