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Traffic Lights Aimed At Bicycles?

Bicycle Traffic Light (James D Schwartz@Flickr)

There’s a growing number of cities across the country that have installed traffic signals geared specifically for bicycles. Denver, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC and about a dozen other cities now have signals at some major intersections that show the outline of a bicycle in green, yellow and red lights notifying a biker whether it’s safe to cross.

Getting to the other side of the street or getting thru an intersection seems like just a matter of common sense, but traffic lights are timed for motorized traffic. When a light turns yellow it may be enough time for a car to get through the intersection, but it may not be enough time for a bike. In the same way, some intersections allow the bicyclist to go first after a red light so they don’t get clobbered by a vehicle turning right.

Some bicycle signals stand alone, while others are incorporated into regular traffic signals. Some are timed, while others are activated when a bicyclist approaches the intersection. The signals are common in Europe and they may be pretty much standard in this country some day.

Just like we’ve seen in the past month and this past weekend with motorcycles – if you’re on a bicycle you don’t have much of a chance in a crash with a vehicle. Here’s something that could provide just a little more margin of safety on busy highways.

There’s no current national standard for bicycle signals, but at least some cities are experimenting. But in the meantime bicyclists are reminded they’re supposed to obey traffic control devices just like vehicles do and drivers should give bicyclists the same right of way as they would any other vehicle.

USA Today

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