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Crossing the Road…

English language video from the French Ministrère de la Transition écologique et solidaire, explaining how cyclists driving at red make crossings safer.

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.

Published inPost Car Society


  1. mju

    In Germany, quite a few crossings have extra lights for cyclists, which turn green a couple of seconds earlier than the one for cars. It seems, this has a similar effect.

    For turning left, some crossings have some extra space for cyclists in front of the cars currently waiting to cross from right to left. That way, the cyclists can start first and are clearly seen by the crossing traffic. The cyclists have to wait until the light for the crossing traffic goes green, though. (Random picture:

    I am not sure how letting cyclists enter the crossing on red light would scale, if there are lots of cyclists, say 4 or 5. This seems to be (again) a solution, assuming cyclists are rare.

    • Florian

      In which way do you think it wouldn’t scale, considering that cyclists that want to enter the intersection on red still have to yield to all other traffic?

      Of course, if you have many cyclists, they might not all be able to enter (and leave) the crossing in the red period (especially the all-red period in which crossing traffic also has red allowing for the intersection to clear). In this case the the situation reduces to the cyclists entering the intersection on green, like we’re used to.

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