In 2017, the Luxembourg traffic ministry commissioned a best-practice study in 2017 to analyse the legal situation of cyclists in six European countries. The focus was on regulation regarding traffic organisation and infrastructure. The Viennese traffic planning office komobile was also part of the study. The result is a comprehensive reform of the legal framework concerning cyclists, which was implemented surprisingly quickly. It includes passing clearance and turning right on red!
As reported in this article, the Luxembourg traffic ministry had commissioned the CycleCompetence member komobile in cooperation with the offices MOE/Tetraplan (Denmark) and Citec Ingénieurs Conseils SA (Switzerland) with a best-practice study, analysing the legal situation in Denmark, Spain and Austria. At the same time, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands were analysed in a separate project. The study provided an informative overview of international approaches to instruments from transport policy and planning for cycling and pedestrian traffic. It also yielded further expert discussions as well as the redesign of the road code in Luxembourg, the “Code de la Route”.
The road code was overhauled
Based on the study, which identified 30 possible measures, nine were filtered out for Luxembourg and embedded in the country’s “Code de la Route”. They took effect on 1 May 2018 and are mirroring the legal framework of the most modern cycling nations. Here we are taking a closer look at the seven essential changes:
1) Mandatory passing clearance of 1.5 metres
A major step towards more safety of cyclists they would wish for in many countries: The obligation for car drivers to keep at least 1.5 metres distance when passing cyclists. From now on, cars on roads with two lanes have to use the opposite lane to overtake cyclists.
2) The permission to cycle next to each other
The law now allows for two cyclists to cycle next to each other on a road. This is generally allowed during the day outside of city areas, in tempo 30 zones and in so-called “Begegnungszonen”, i.e. zones with equal rights for pedestrians, cars and cyclists and a 20 km/h maximum speed. Within city limits it is only allowed while a car is overtaking.
3) Cycle paths without an obligation of usage
Just like in Austria since the amendments to the road code (StVO) in 2013 Luxembourg too has square signs for cycle paths which can but do not have to be used. This offers the choice to use the road as a cyclist instead.
4) Special traffic lights allow cyclists to turn on red
As successfully applied in France, Belgium and Switzerland, now Luxembourg too is using the pilot project to allow cyclists to continue on their way at a traffic light showing red. This will be indicated by additional lights flashing yellow a specific crossings.
5) Cycling on pavements for children and people accompanying them
Until the age of 12 Children can use the pavements accompanied by an older person. This allows them to cycle to school more easily. And it avoids dangerous situations for them and the people accompanying them.
6) Cycle road with no overtaking
Luxembourg now gets the possibility to set up cycle roads. They have a 30 km/h tempo limit, only residents can use them by car and cyclists can not be overtaken.
7) Dead end street signs with route continuation for cyclists
The new traffic sign for dead end streets indicates whether it ends in a path for cyclists or for pedestrians.
Additional measures are scrapping the obligation to have reflectors on the spokes of a bicycle and the possibility to construct a pavement at a crossing without interrupting it for the road. The details can be found in this presentation from which the illustrations above were taken.
Checklist to compare
We made a summary of the six most importent improvements as a checklist for social media. Please share and answer: How many points out of six does your country get? Austria makes one point at #6 and half a point at #4, so 1.5 out of 6.