Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System
Signal detection for bicyclists using the bike lane. Photo by Carl Sundstrom
At signalized intersections that require users to be detected to call a green light, detection should be designed to accommodate bicyclists. Properly designed detection can help deter red light running and unsafe behaviors by reducing delay at signalized intersections.
There are two categories of detection: active or passive. Active detection requires the user to activate the signal phase through a pushbutton. While existing sidewalk-based pedestrian pushbutton detection may adequately serve bicyclists that ride on the sidewalk, it should not be expected that on-road cyclists would leave the roadway to actuate a signal. As such, passive detection (i.e., when the signal system automatically detects the presence of the user) is preferred. The most common motor vehicle detection technology, the loop detector, can also be used to service bicyclists. Additional passive detection devices may include video detection and microwave detection. Passive technologies are continuously being updated, and new innovations in detection should be considered and tested as they are developed.
Bicycle detection devices can be used to call a phase or to prolong the phase to allow a bicyclist to clear an intersection. For bicyclists to prompt the phase at a signalized intersection, bicycle detection devices should be located in the most conspicuous location and supplemented by appropriate signing and pavement markings to inform bicyclists of where to wait.
Signalized intersections should include detection for bicyclists to facilitate safe, comfortable, and convenient crossings at intersections for bicyclists while also minimizing delay.
Detection devices are used to determine if a pedestrian or bicyclist is waiting for the signal. There are many different ways that these devices detect pedestrians and bicyclists. For instance, bicycle detectors ($1,920 on average per intersection approach, $1,070 to $2,680 range) are usually loop detectors embedded in the pavement, while pedestrian detectors use pushbuttons to detect the presence of pedestrians waiting to cross.
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