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New Types of Raised Crossroads Introduced to Dutch Cities to Improve Safety

By Adam Marsal

We’re accustomed to the fact that cycling news coming from the Netherlands help to dwindle traffic incidents among cyclist and drivers or, at least, boost awareness of better safety on the roads. We’re happy to introduce you to one more improvement that is concerning the layout of intersections this time.

Intersections are generally regarded as one of the weakest points when talking about traffic safety. Lack of attention or/and wrong decisions might lead to a nasty accident. To prevent crashes between turning cars and cyclists riding straight across intersections, their design has been refined in several Dutch cities.

Cycle paths running through intersections were raised and made into continuous roads to emphasise the area as a point of potential conflict where people should pay increased attention. There are yield signs on the side streets complemented by white shark’s teeth on the road, which warn drivers of the raised surface that also doubles as speed retarders.

These uninterrupted paths are also marked by using differently coloured material to make double sure cyclists have priority over motor traffic turning from the main road. The idea is that the elevated crossroads would make the traffic slow down and make it less dangerous.

The solution improves the general safety in crossroads as the vehicle’s speed is decreased on the intersection, reducing the intensity of any possible collisions that might occur. The driver must slow down and take greater care. Lesser likelihood of hitting pedestrians or cyclists is a benefit for drivers too.

What is considerably interesting is the fact that most intersections of this kind in the Netherlands are lacking traffic lights as Dutch people are convinced that pedestrians, cyclists and drivers might individually negotiate who goes first better than if it was directed by the signalisation. Without lights, people need to interact actively among each other even though the final decisions are inherently predetermined by the intersection’s design.

Is there a chance we could learn a lesson in street tolerance from them?