Monday, July 2, 2012

Dutch Bicycle Signal with Through Arrow - Clarifying Intent of Traffic Control - Den Haag, Netherlands

 In discussing bicycle signals with fellow transportation engineers, I am consistently asked what the green indication is intended to mean to a person on a bicycle. I am perplexed at this question because I believe that one could ask the same question for a circular green indication that is used for all traffic. With a circular green, it does not mean you should turn left (in your motor vehicle) from the right most lane of traffic.

That was exactly what a recent discussion inquired about. I hadn't ever considered whether a bicycle signal indication would given a person on a bicycle the clue that they could turn left from the bicycle lane across vehicular through lanes, essentially stopping all traffic in favor of the traffic in the bicycle lane. In our nine bicycle traffic signals in Portland, only a few of them are for the bicycle lane where there would be an opportunity to make a left turn across several lanes of through traffic, but I don't think that's a logical conclusion for a cyclist to make when there are other adjacent traffic signal displays or through arrows in adjacent lanes.

The pictures in this post show an example in Den Haag where some clarification was deemed necessary of the intent of the traffic signal and there was a need to provide clarity related to the bicycle signal was intended to control through traffic (note the small through arrow in the larger signal head at left. As you can see in the photo, the red pavement curves to the right, but this traffic signal is intended to control the through movement.  
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