Bike Traffic Signals

Bicycle only traffic signals have been implemented in various cities to try to separate bikes from cars.  Below is a picture of a bike only traffic signal in Madison at a very busy intersection of the bike path crossing several different roads. 

Speaking of traffic signals and bicycles, did you know that Wisconsin biyclists can proceed through an intersection before a signal turns green if no other vehicles are present to actuate the signal and the bicyclist waits at least 45 seconds first?

4. Notwithstanding subd. 1., a motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle facing a red signal at an intersection may, after stopping as required under subd. 1. for not less than 45 seconds, proceed cautiously through the intersection before the signal turns green if no other vehicles are present at the intersection to actuate the signal and the operator of the motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle reasonably believes the signal is vehicle actuated. The operator of a motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle proceeding through a red signal under this subdivision shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicular traffic, pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device proceeding through a green signal at the intersection or lawfully within a crosswalk or using the intersection. This subdivision does not affect any authorization for a bicyclist under subd. 2.

Getting back to bicycle only traffic signals, it seems that Madison is not the only city where drivers complain about bicyclists, money spent to make biking safer etc.  See the comments below from a Portland Oregon newspaper after a published article on bicycle only signals in Oregon.  The comments sound strikingly similar to comments in Madison papers regarding bicycle related issues and reflect the same vitriol towards bicyclists.   Despite all of the negative comments in every bicycling related article in the last year, my ride to Concerts on the Square was wonderful, with all drivers acting courteously and giving the mandatory three feet before passing.

Comments from Portland Newspaper article on bike only traffic lights:
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
Here we go wasting more money on bicycles when we can't pay teachers

Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
Another Sam Adams waste of money. If bicyclists don't already follow the rules of the road, why would they start now?
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
still seems to me that portland needs to stop benifiting bycicles so much and just start fixing the damn roads.
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
I wonder if biker's will follow the signal or just go when they want to as many seem to do now.
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
Adams took 20 million from the water bureau for bikes now they want to raise water and sewer rates to cover the short fall at the water bureau, fire all the city politicians, more corruption and waste of tax payers money
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
Good--put them up all over the city. I drive down Grand every night going to graveyard shift on North Columbia & can't count the number of times some ditz on a bike just blithely crosses an intersection without even pausing let alone stopping to check traffic. Gee, wonder why so many get run over. Of these brilliant riders (not generalizing just commenting on the dummies) 99.9% have no lights, no reflectors & are in dark (usually black) non-reflective clothes, perhaps the responsible bike people need to educate their brethren before more folks get injured or killed. If more money is needed, leave the basics (like water) alone Sam & set up a bike tax that will be reduced a lot if they take a "How to ride my bike smartly" class.
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
Hey Tom

40% increase in state funding of education in the last 6 years and we haven't added a single instructional day to the school year, in fact the kids are spending less time in class.

So where is that money going?

Can't pay the teachers? It's not because of traffic signals.
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
Bike riders should be licensed just like cars if they want to share the roads in Portland. I have seen countless bike riders run red lights, drive between lanes of cars, not stop at stop signs, etc. With the money raised the bikers could be educated to follow the rules of the road and make it safe for everyone.
Also, it would be nice if bike commuters showered once they get to work so they don't make their co-workers sick from the body odor. Not to be rude, but they can clear a room with the smell.
I have nothing against bikers, they just need the same rules applied to them if they are to co-exist with cars.
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
I agree with Mari. Make the bike riders pay for a bike "license". Use the money to put in a pot to help pay for lights and green boxes. And then, when riders DON'T FOLLOW THE RULES, fine them and add that money to the pot. Also, fine them when they have no front or back lights. I can't tell you the number of times i have nearly hit a biker that has run stop signs, red lights, have had no lights at night, wearing black with no reflectors, etc. I have been lucky, I guess. I have slammed on my brakes just in the nick of time.
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
On every bike sold there should be a "BIKE TAX". Bike riders need to pay their fair share
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
Must suck to be you all. Nothing positive to add to anything
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
At least REQUIRE bicyclist to Wear helmets, have functioning BRIGHT headlamp & taillamps.......brighter clothing or reflective vest...sumthing!!!!


"New to Portland and its Krazy Ways...."

Hey, you kids!
Get offa my lawn!!


Angry Suburbanite

Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
My housemate was hit by a car in that intersection. The car crossed over the bike lane to make a right onto the freeway, but didn't look for a bike. My housemate was thrown over the hood and landed on her back in the street. I am delighted that this intersection is being improved.
Re: New bike-only traffic signal lights up this week
I'm no fan of Adams, his excessively pro-bike mission, or his idiotic spending sprees with taxpayer money.

But unlike the anti-bike knee-jerk reactionaries who have posted single sentences of nasty drivel thusfar, I'm not going to immediately assume that this is part of Herr Adams' masterplan to waste tax dollars on frivolous attempts to completely eradicate all cars from the streets of Portland.

My first question is - why this interesection?
Is there something about the traffic pattern that makes it particularly vulnerable to bike-related accidents?
I've been through most of the intersections in this town, and some of them look like they were designed by either a) a drunk lumberjack on horseback, or b) someone with a sick and twisted sense of humor.

The author would be wise to include the city's RATIONALE for choosing this intersection and their plans for future installations. Otherwise the simpletons are going to make up their own minds about their motives.


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