Intersections may be signalised to address a road safety, efficiency or operational issue or to improve crossing opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists. Signalised intersections are generally installed at intersections of major roads and, due to the temporal component, usually involve several approach lanes on each leg.
People choosing to travel by bike generally have similar origins and destinations to those who travel by motor vehicle and will therefore often choose routes that involve signalised intersections. Signalised intersections should provide the space and operational conditions to support cycling as a viable mode of transport option. Off-road paths and protected cycleways may be provided as alternatives to traditional on-road cycling facilities, and these paths often have to be incorporated into the functional layouts of signalised intersections. Signalised intersections can be designed to accommodate a range of target users. Spatial and temporal separation relating to different target users should be considered.
At signalised intersections different movements are separated in time and therefore the risk to compliant cyclists is generally lower than at unsignalised intersections. However, if signal operation allows for filter turning, then cyclists are still exposed to risk from turning traffic that shares their approach leg and often also turning traffic from the opposing approach. Conversely, more confident cyclists who place a higher importance on journey time, often do not accept being held on a red signal while parallel through traffic has a green. European experience shows that signal compliance drops with a widening service level gap between through cyclists and through drivers, which in turn increases the crash rate. (‘Optimisation for bicycle traffic at traffic lights’1 ). This is an area where much more local experience needs to be gained.
Turning right at signalised intersections can be difficult for cyclists particularly where several lanes must be crossed to reach the right turning lane and several lanes of opposing traffic may need to be negotiated. The alternative is a hook turn manoeuvre, which allows cyclists to retain a kerbside position and cross an intersection in two stages.
This section provides advice on:
1. Alrutz, D., Willhaus, E., Meyhofer, H., Muller, H. & Schmidt, R. 1996. Optimierung für den Radverkehr an Lichtsignalanlagen [Optimisation for bicycle traffic at traffic lights]. Beiträge zur Stadtforschung, Stadtentwicklung, Stadtplanung [Contributions to urban research, city development, and town planning]. Hanover, Germany: PGV Planungsgemeinschaft Verkehr / Hannover.