They’ve Invented An Ingenious New Type Of Intersection That Could Save Lives

It’s an struggle that’s longed plagued street designers: how do you make an intersection safe for cyclists?

Cities have increasingly used protected bike lanes to give cyclists security when they travel alongside automobile traffic. But at intersections, things become more tricky. In order to allow for turns, the protection ends.

That’s a big problem. After all, it’s only the most dedicated cyclists who will take to the road without protection. To get the masses to cycle on a regular basis, it’s critical to ensure riders feel safe.

A new type of intersection — or, at least one that’s new to the U.S. — may be able to fix that problem.

The so-called Dutch junction offers protection to cyclists at intersections, regardless of whether they’re turning left, turning right, or continuing straight. The key to its design are the four islands near each corner of the intersection. They prevent cars from entering the pathway of cyclists turning right. Meanwhile, they force cyclists traveling straight to move into the view of automobiles and out of their blind spots.

The intersection isn’t really new. It’s a standard in The Netherlands, as it’s name suggests.

Last year, Davis, California introduced the first operating Dutch junction in the U.S. It couldn’t have happened in a more appropriate place. Fifty years ago, the city debuted the country’s first bike lane. Today, Davis is striving to achieve 30 percent bicycle ridership by 2020.

The diagram below shows it work (click here for a video explanation). Television station KCRA also offers a good video tour of what the intersection looks like in Davis.

The Dutch junction is a clever — albeit surprisingly simple — solution to a conflict that’s plagued communities for years. It’s especially effective, since it specifically addresses the place where bicycles and cars are most likely to collide — —> Read More