The green cyclist arrow is being tested here

the green cyclist arrow is being tested here

For claus reinhardt of the city’s building department, the cyclist’s arrow is "a good thing in itself, but also not a free pass in the sense of: i’m in the right and can simply drive in on the right." There must always be coordination with other road users. Because from the cyclist’s point of view, pedestrians and cyclists coming from the left initially had priority.

In 2017, the GAL city council group had requested to apply for participation in this pilot project. The city had taken up this suggestion. GAL councillor kiki laaser says that even without the arrow, many cyclists are already crossing at the red light: "but at the moment it’s an offence, even if the traffic would actually allow it. Nothing will change, but now this common practice will be legalized. But still everyone has to stop." After a year of testing in bamberg and eight other cities nationwide (including munich, coln and stuttgart), the federal road construction agency wants to take stock – and possibly roll out the model across the board.

"The other grunpfeil has been around for a long time. And many, unfortunately, still don’t know how to use it properly", says reinhardt. The principle for both the new and the old arrow is: pull over, stop, look, and turn right when the road is clear. However, there are also places where this does not work so well, where either no one stops or many simply do not drive, even though no other vehicle is coming.

Who sticks to the rules?

Almost a year ago, for example, the police checked whether road users were behaving correctly at the green arrow at the armeestrabe/podeldorfer strabe intersection – at that time, eight out of ten road users did not comply with the rules, and many did not even slow down at the stop line. Paragraph 37, paragraph 2, number 1 of the traffic regulations (stvo) states that only "after stopping, turning is permitted even on red". The arrow is to be removed from armeestrabe because of the negative experiences there.

" If conditions allow it, the green arrow can have a supporting effect", but claus reinhardt also says. "The five test intersections reflect different situations. So the cyclist turns in podeldorfer strabe from the mixed traffic into neuerbstrabe, and thus into another street with mixed traffic. In feldkirchenstrabe, on the other hand, he drives from the cycle track to the right back onto a cycle track." For reinhardt, the constellation at the marienbrucke/corner of heinrichsdamm seems particularly interesting, not least because of the relatively high volume of traffic with many different participants and the turning options into the mixed traffic and onto the cycle path.

It would be difficult to introduce a green arrow for motorists in all these places, as some people demand. For example, there is a lot of school traffic turning into neuerbstrabe with the destinations rupprecht- or erloserschule. If everyone here had the grunpfeil, this would probably lead to conflicts.

The questions to be answered during the one-year monitoring phase of the federal highway research institute are which conflicts arise, how strong the traffic flows are, and how many cyclists adhere to the rules. In 2020, a decision will be made on the basis of the experience gained as to whether the stvo should be amended accordingly.

"When it comes to bicycle-friendliness, speed is also a criterion", says city councilwoman laaser. "The green arrow allows cyclists to move faster in city traffic." If the pilot project works, laaser would like to see the green arrow "everywhere where it makes sense".

COMMENT by stefan fobel

Freedom through reason

Any change that helps the flow of traffic is good. As long as it is not at the expense of safety. The grunpfeil gives cyclists a small head start that shouldn’t hurt motorists. Unfortunately, however, many road users, regardless of their means of transport, have not yet learned how to behave properly at appropriate traffic lights. Those who simply drive through without stopping or even looking properly endanger themselves and others.

In this respect, the green arrow should be much more than just the permission to drive on a red light. Freedom won relies on the common sense of all road users. If as many cyclists as possible follow the rules, not only in the pilot phase, the green arrow could save time and increase safety across the board. If everyone just carries on as before, it will only be a trial.

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