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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bicycle traffic signals get a green light [USAToday]


9:52AM EST December 2. 2012 - Drivers in bike-friendly cities may be doing double takes, as bicycle-specific traffic signals pop up alongside the traditional round red, yellow and green signals controlling intersections.
At least 16 U.S. cities, including Austin, Denver, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C., have installed the lights, which feature a bicycle-shaped signal, according to an October study commissioned by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. They signals are common in Germany, Sweden and Australia, according to the study.
The reason for the new signals? Bicyclists can be at risk when entering an intersection on a yellow light that allows enough time for cars to clear the intersection, but not for bikes, the study found. Even traditional green lights may not allow enough time for a bicyclist starting from a stopped position to make it across. Bicycle signals can also help prevent collisions when a motorist is turning right and a cyclist is going straight, by allowing the cyclist a few seconds head start.

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