Headstart starts for cyclists at Dublin junctions with bicycle traffic lights

Dublin City Council has finally started operating a head-start setting on bicycle traffic lights, years after the cyclist-level traffic lights were installed at a number of junctions around the city.

Today, the bicycle traffic lights seem to be operating at around a three second head start. The head start is a common safety measure to allow people on bicycles to start advancing legally across a junction before motor traffic, especially ahead of left turning motorists.

The mini bicycle traffic lights were installed at a number of junctions from 2014, but the head-start feature was not enabled at the time.

As we reported at the time in 2014, the city council first said that the lights were an “awareness” feature, but then the council told another media outlet that it “does intend to introduce a lead time (head-start), but he did not have a date for when this would happen.” But fast-forward to February 2018 and the Dublin Inquirer reported that the council said it was not considering advance signalling for the moment.

Here’s the head-start feature in action today:



  1. This is a positive development which recognises the vulnerability of cyclists in those key few seconds when a signal changes and all the motor traffic at the junction starts to move at once. Many experienced cyclists will “jump the lights” when no such signal is in place (to avoid trying to cross a junction at the same time as motor traffic) – it’s welcome to see defensive and safety-oriented behaviour from cyclists recognised and formally encoded in traffic signals.

  2. I saw these on the North and South Quays yesterday and they make a real, positive difference.

    I did find though that the motor traffic inched forward as the cyclists move off. Drivers have been conditioned to think that the cycle lights are repeaters of the main signal. An unintended consequence of using them incorrectly across the city since 2014.


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