No paywall and let's keep it that way. Support reader-funded journalism, subscribe today.

Dublin City installs bicycle traffic lights without headstart safety function

mini
A recently installed mini-traffic light mounted on a normal traffic light poll at Harolds Cross Road and Rathgar Ave (Image: Bam Soles‎)

Mini-bicycle traffic lights — used in other countries to give cyclists a headstart over other traffic — have recently been installed at junctions in Dublin City, without the headstart function turned on.

Elsewhere in Europe, including in Copenhagen and Berlin, bicycle traffic lights at normal junctions are used to give cyclists a headstart. The headstart — which is usually around 5 seconds — acts as a safety feature allowing cyclists to make progress across junctions in advance of motorists being allowed to proceed.

Dublin City Council, however, has confirmed that the recently installed mini-traffic lights are to be used at junctions only as bicycle-level repeaters of the larger general traffic lights.

“The cycle traffic lights are an awareness measure,” said Paul Heffernan, a spokesman for Dublin City Council. “They are synchronised with the existing vehicular traffic signals and compliment vehicular and pedestrian signals. They remind cyclists that they can not run a red light. Dublin City Council is confident that cyclists will respond positively to them.”

The council said “several” of the lights have been installed at locations around the city, but did not give a list of locations.

7623427596_4397d9edfd_z (1)
Copenhagen, pictured above, and other EU countries use the mini-traffic lights to give cyclists as headstart

IrishCycle.com understands the locations include on the north quays at the Ha’penny Bridge, the junction of Harolds Cross Road and Rathgar Ave, and a junction on Dame Street.

The same type of mini-traffic lights were first used in Ireland along the Canals cycle route, between Portobello and the north Docklands, and a segregated bicycle crossing on City Quay — both locations have fully separate signal phases for bicycles and motor traffic. Before their use the law had to be changed to allow for the smaller sized lights.

The headstart function should be possible with the traffic lights recently installed by the council, but changing the traffic light phasing at junctions would require eating into the green time for motorists or making the traffic light cycles longer for everybody.

IrishCycle.com is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

September subscription drive update: IrishCycle.com has reached its target of 270 subscribers by the end of August -- thank you to all who have helped! Our new target is to have 300 subscribers by the end of 2022 -- originally this was hoped to be exceeded by the first year of running the site full time (end of October), but this is unlikely and so the new target is the end of the year.

If you can help push IrishCycle.com above 300 subscribers, please subscribe today for €5 or more. If you have already done so -- thank you!

Please remember, every month there's a natural drop-off in subscriptions due to people getting new cards, cards stolen, Revolut not topped up etc.

***

IrishCycle.com is a reader-funded journalism publication. Effectively it's an online newspaper covering news and analyses of cycling and related issues, including cycle route designs, legal changes, and pollical and cultural issues.

There are examples, big and small, which show that the reader-funded or listener-funding model can work to support journalism -- from the Dublin Inquirer and The Guardian to many podcasts. To make it work for IrishCycle.com, it just needs enough people like you to believe!

Monthly subscriptions will give IrishCycle.com's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year IrishCycle.com had an average of 15,800 readers per month and we know our readers include people who cycle and those who don't, politicians, officials and campaigners.

I know only a small percentage of readers will see the value of keeping this open enough to subscribe, that's the reality of the reader-funded model. But more support is needed to keep this show on the road.

The funding drive was started in November 2021 and, as of the start of June 2022, 250 readers have kindly become monthly subscribers -- thank you very much to all that have!

But currently, it's only around 1.6% of readers who subscribe. So, if you can, please join them and subscribe today via ko-fi.com/irishcycle/tiers

Cian Ginty
Editor, IrishCycle.com

6 comments

  1. Came across a set the other day somewhere, can’t remember where, and was confused by this too. Was expecting the headstart when I saw the separate light. Most city centre busy junctions should have these as a matter of course as well as increasing pedestrian phase and frequency. Time would be deducted from motor traffic phase, of course.

    If this anomaly is not rectified, accident could occur.

    Reply
  2. Huge missed opportunity at the very busy kennelworth junction in Harold cross. Why not give cyclists a flashing amber when the pedestrians are allowed go?

    Reply
  3. Some Roads they give a priority headstart green for Buses ,so it could easily be done for Cyclists. On That Portobello Rathmines to Sheriff St Cycle route the Lights stay red to long for Cyclists giving a too long a green priority for Motorists especially at Leeson Street.

    Reply
  4. As very few cyclist obey the signals on the Canal cycle path I don’t expect these lights to have any better level of compliance

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.