This video explains at length and through examples how allowing cyclists to pass crossings during red lights can make crossings a lot safer. I had this video in my G+ stream yesterday without a lot of explanation, mostly to see who actually watches it and how just runs the usual »Rowdy Cyclists Are Killing Us All« comments by reflex.
What the video demonstrates is pretty substantial: It shows several specific badly designed crossings in limited space urban environments, and the typical dangerous situations that have been observed.
It then shows tested and in-use special traffic signs that allow cyclists to pass the crossing on red light, securing their pass the same way for example the green arrow (right turn on red for cars) does this in Germany. It explains again, using observed behavior, how this defuses potentially dangerous situations on these crossings.
Another video demonstrates a similar, but different traffic situation in the Netherlands. The video shows people in the Netherlands crossing various streets – safely – to a classic propaganda tune from the 1960s badmouthing Jaywalking. An accompanying blog article gives context: In the Netherlands the concept of Jaywalking does not exist:
Some people comment that they don’t understand the lack of crosswalks on the cycle paths. Well, that’s because pedestrian crossings are perhaps less common in the Netherlands compared to other countries. As a pedestrian, you are allowed to cross the street or the cycle path wherever you like.
So in the Netherlands, if you want to cross a road, you do that. I tested that today in Amsterdam: Drivers know and expect that – if you walk next to a street in a way that even remotely suggests that you might have the intention to cross, they slow and stop (and you better cross!). No Zebra Crossing necessary.