The Swedish capital of Stockholm is a city struggling to cater for an unexpected rise in cyclists numbers over recent years. Since 2000 the number of cyclists in Stockholm has increased by 75%, with figures almost doubling in the last 18 months. On a regular weekday, there are about 150,000 trips made by bicycle in the city centre.
In a bid to ease mounting congestion and help cyclists in Stockholm, the municipal city council is currently debating whether to allow cyclists to run red lights at traffic lights at certain periods of the day. The city council is also mulling allowing cyclists to cycle against one way traffic on certain roads.
Making breaking rules legal
Per Ankersjö, the city councillor responsible for Stockholm’s environment policy, told Swedish national newspaper Dagens Nyheter that many cyclists already broke road traffic rules in large numbers so maybe it was better to make the rule breaking legal.
Stockholm unlike other cities in Sweden has been slow in upgrading its cycle infrastructure despite the increase in the numbers of cyclists in the city in recent years. The lack of investment, bad urban planning and the increased numbers of those cycling has created bottlenecks of congestion with cyclists taking risks by running red lights to stay ahead of motorists.
In order to change the rules, Stockholm city council will have to gain approval of Transportstyrelsen, the Swedish Transport Agency. Sweden’s government also appointed a Commission on Cycling in 2010, which is currently reviewing traffic regulations from a cycling perspective.
Some European countries have traffic regulations that allow cyclists to turn right at a red light.