60% of Dublin’s Cyclists Run Red Lights

Posted on: 09 September 2015

Engineers from Trinity College Dublin have found that 60% of Dublin’s City Centre cyclists are guilty of running red lights.

Just over a month ago a new set of penalties were introduced for cyclists, with the error of running a red light married to a €40 fine. In addition to the financial blow, the high proportion of cyclists not waiting for green to go indicates a serious safety issue for cyclists and other road users.

The research also pinpointed specific junctions at which cyclists ignored the highway code, with one in particular seeing almost 98% of cyclists break a red light.

Assistant Professor in Civil and Structural Engineering in Trinity College Dublin’s School of Engineering, Brian Caulfield, led the research, which has just been published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention. He now believes there needs to be a review of the rules of the road to better accommodate the rapid increase in the number of cyclists.

He said: “Our cities and towns are changing. In Dublin, and across the country, we have doubled the amount of cyclists. If we were to double any mode of transport there would be teething problems.”

“It is a good thing that we’re having this debate. Maybe five ten years ago we never thought we would be giving out about the number of cyclists in the city and breaking lights – but we need to look at how the rules of the road are applied.”

The study observed two junctions in the city – one with a cycle lane and one without.

The vast majority of cyclists broke the lights while using the cycle lane; around one in four did so on a motorist phase and the rest did so on the pedestrian light phase. On average, the study found that 60% of cyclists were breaking red lights.

Professor Caulfield added: “The next few years will be crucial for the continued development of cycling in Dublin, particularly due to the increasing investment by transport planners in cycle infrastructure. It is therefore important to identify the main factors that influence cyclists’ decisions to break red lights in order to guide local traffic authorities in their efforts to reduce such transgressions.”

The journal article citation is: Richardson, M., Caulfield, B. Investigating traffic light violations by cyclists in Dublin City Centre. Accident Analysis & Prevention 84, 2015, p65 – 73.

Media Coverage

Sunday Times, September 6

Newstalk, September 7

Media Contact:

Thomas Deane, Media Relations Officer | deaneth@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4685