August 3, 2012

August 3, 2012

Comments (21)

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Yield markings in the intersection violate US standards

As a bicyclist and a traffic engineer, I can see that the "Dutch way" design in the video violates US traffic signal standards.

IF you want to spatially segregate bicyclists but WITHOUT grade separations, then you also need to temporally separate them from motor vehicles through signal timing and traffic controls. In effect, you are treating the sidepath as though it were a little one-way frontage road next to a major street at a cross street.

The "Dutch way" has several major differences from typical US design, including Protected Only Mode Right Turns. That requires prohibiting right turn on red, right turn arrows on the signal heads, signs saying Right Turn on Green Arrow Only, along with yield markings (shark's teeth) and yield signs in the intersection.

Those shark's teeth appear to be directed at drivers turning left off the main street on a green ball, telling them they need to yield to bicyclists on the sidepath crossing. Of course, turning drivers already by law need to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, but there is no corresponding law for drivers to yield to bicyclists in the sidepath crossing, either in the US or in Europe. Thus the need for yield signs and markings in the intersection, which violates the US standard against having stop or yield signs within an intersection.

Simply put, this design does NOT follow US practice, meaning that US practice would have to be changed BEFORE this design was installed anywhere in the US (without an approved Request to Experiment, that is).

Bob Shanteau 259 days ago

Defending US practice?

Exactly, significant change is needed. While your tone and a quick Google search of your name suggests you think otherwise, change is needed in North America, and it's happening. Greater acceptance of NACTO's design guides are simply step 1 towards designs that inherently create safer spaces for all users. Traffic design is not set in stone and can and will change.

Duncan Hurd 231 days ago

google image it

for all you haters and non believers.. Yes it works in the NL. Just google image bike lanes in Den Hague or Amsterdam. it works perfectly. enough room to pass slower bikers. easy bike access buttons.

kct 271 days ago

Check examples in China

I can't believe this could be an issue in US. Because this is the way how bike lanes work in China and other countries. And there are more examples for those unusual intersections. For examples, a big triangle safe island for those non-perpendicular intersection, so pedestrian can have a spots to stop while waiting for the red lights and those islands can be used as a pocket park or other small scale green spaces.

Kexin more than 1 year ago

A better way...

A better way for bicyclists to travel is on a "GravTrans" (US Patent 8322943). Inclines, bad weather and automobile hazards are all eliminated - even pedaling is virtually eliminated! To help build the first "GravTrans" do the following:
Go to: and create an account (this may take over a day)
Go back into the site and click "reviewed ideas"
Search “GravTrans” (type it in by the magnifying glass)
Click on the link: “My idea is to construct a GravTrans”
Click the red “I second this idea” button on the left

Thanks in advance for your activism!

UtopiaBuilders more than 1 year ago


I can see this working, but I can also see this not working. The number of people who run over the curb now, and with huge road trucks turning, that little island is going to get demolished. Nice try, tho. I think that the Dutch citizens are more willing to follow rules than Yanks. People in the states tend to pride themselves on their ability to break the law, be rude, and get away with it. I am always amazed when I run across a person driving a car or truck that actually knows the rules and follows them.

John Trester more than 1 year ago

Re: "the truth"

The Dutch absolutely do use this intersection design and it's very common. Anybody who has ridden a bike there could attest to this.

Jason more than 1 year ago

It ain't broke...

The stated problem with the existing right turn lane doesn't really exist. If the car is traveling more quickly than the bike, the driver will have just passed the bike, and will know it's there. If the biker is traveling more quickly, (s)he can swing around the car as it crosses the bike path. If I'm traveling at the same rate as traffic, I will generally ride in the traffic lane.

Others have noted the problem with making left turns (you will always encounter one red light, and frequently will encounter two). Bikers also forced to swerve entering and exiting intersections, which would increase bike to bike collisions dramatically.

Stephen Bomber more than 1 year ago


This way cyclists have always a red light if they want to turn left...

Stijn Wens more than 1 year ago

the truth please... calling you out.

'The truth please' You seem to have all the answers, so much so that you're willing to call Niels Jacobs (Dutch traffic expert), who commented back in August, a liar. Not to mention the Dutch cycling groups who have commented under the youtube version of this video, none of whom seem to dispute its accuracy. If the Dutch 'don't do this', then prove it and show me what they do instead. Otherwise, you're just a troll.

Ed Vorst more than 1 year ago

go see for yourself

I travel to the netherlands often and yes they do this. Its an awesome madness. the lane is big enough that you pass slower bikers just as you would in a car. but you ring your bell to let them know your stop at lights like traffic in orderly fashion and then you all set off at green.

kct 271 days ago

the truth please

The dutch dont do this. please dont misrepresent what others are doing and try and sell it as gospel. This appears to be your own suggested way of doing things. The dutch DO NOT do ths. That isalnd at the intersection is not practical, particularly on a route of any bike volume, say in a place like the Netherlands!!! Amazes me how often the cycling community cherry pick or fabricate what is happening in Europe and what can be borrowed. Myth Busted.

the truth please more than 1 year ago

where to wait

@Chris I think you meant the Dutch, <A href="">here</a> you can see a couple of photos to show you where they wait. There is room enough to wait without blocking the way for other people cycling. The waiting position is far away from the stopline for motorised traffic. That is the whole point of this design: to separate the two. In Denmark with the Danes it is totally different.

Mark more than 1 year ago


I'd like to see how the Dutch handle roundabouts. Here (Wisconsin) we are just beginning to use them, with generally very positive results.

alliwant more than 1 year ago

Bicycle safety

This is a great idea that needs promoting in the US. As more and more in the US use cycles ... with the price of gas going up ... this is even more important!

Hal Helsley more than 1 year ago

Where do cyclists wait for red lights?

Question for the Danes: where do bicycles waiting for the red light stand without blocking the bicycles crossing the green light? Is the bicycle stop-line back where the car stop-line is?

Chris more than 1 year ago

The Dutch Way

It is a simple and safe way for Car, bicycle and pedestrians
Good be very good for North America


Nadia Moalic more than 2 years ago

Safer, but not safest

Segregating bicycle, pedestrian and auto traffic is certainly a necessity if traffic speeds are intended to be moderate or high (25 mph or more). Furthermore, this Dutch solution shown here is also certainly safer than the standard U.S. designs currently used.

Having said that, it is even safer to lower traffic speeds altogether- i.e., 20 mph or less- and desegregate all traffic modes. Many Dutch towns have done this, too, by eliminating curbs, and virtually all traffic controls, in local areas, and have experienced huge gains in traffic safety as a result.

Christopher Wyatt more than 2 years ago

Dutch Knowledge

Its definitely a much safer solution, and it can even increase the capacity of a junction with traffic lights. Here in the Netherlands we've much more of these solutions to make (bicycle) traffic much safer and quicker.

Too bad the export of our advanced traffic knowledge isn't a big thing. Nevertheless I think other countries could learn a lot of the Dutch traffic regulation. It's not by coincidence that the Dutch traffic is the safest in the world, despite our busy traffic ánd many cyclists. It probably would be a tremendous challenge for Dutch traffic experts like me to improve safety and traffic flow, but most roads in other countries can be used more efficiently I suppose.

Niels Jacobs (Dutch traffic expert) more than 2 years ago

great idea

I don't cycle all that much, but I would feel safer if this were the standard when I do. I also feel safer as a driver knowing that that cyclists would be in plain view. Not to mention the fact that intersection collisions between vehicles would be less due to the greater distance from any such danger as a result of the top line being pushed back.

mmmplastic more than 2 years ago

I love the Dutch!!

this is just so simple and effective and works for both cars, cyclists and pedestrians alike. we should have them over here in the UK too!

Luke Keen more than 2 years ago