Protected intersection

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A protected intersection is an at-grade road junction in which cyclists and pedestrians are separated from cars. Vehicles turning right (in countries driving on the right, or left in countries driving on the left) are separated by a car length from crossing cyclists and pedestrians, providing increased reaction times and visibility. Drivers looking to turn right have better visibility to cyclists and pedestrians as they can look to the side for conflicts instead of over their shoulders.[1]

A protected intersection in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. A safe way to cross the road on a bicycle.

This type of intersection is common in the bike-friendly Netherlands.[2] A few other countries and jurisdictions are beginning to install protected intersections similar to those in the Netherlands, including U.S. cities Salt Lake City,[3] Austin, Davis and Boston,[4] and Canadian cities Ottawa, Vancouver, and Waterloo.


Features of a road protected intersection, as commonly used in the Netherlands

A number of features make this intersection safer. A corner refuge island, a setback crossing of the pedestrians and cyclists, generally between 1.5–7 metres of setback, a forward stop bar, which allows cyclists to stop for a traffic light well ahead of motor traffic who must stop behind the crosswalk. Separate signal staging or at least an advance green for cyclists and pedestrians is used to give cyclists and pedestrians no conflicts or a head start over traffic. The design makes a right turn on red, and sometimes left on red depending on the geometry of the intersection in question, possible in many cases, often without stopping.[5]

Strong ground marking is key to define the cycle lane path and its priority. Wide strips are painted aside the cycle way and 'shark teeth' (triangles with pointy end oriented toward the non priority vehicles) are used to remind priority to the right turning motorists and sometimes also on the motor lane inlet in the intersection.

In addition to ground marking, the cycle lane color play a role to remind cyclist priority, the lane losing its color if the designer decides that the cycle lane shall lose priority (which is uncommon on this type of intersection). In the Netherlands, the cycle way red color is not painted but embedded in asphalt to increase durability and reduce costs.

Also often the cycle lane is sligthly raised in the crossing, to again invite motorists to decrease speed.

The protection of the vulnerable cyclists with a protected junction with bicycle traffic lights.

Cyclists ideally have a protected bike lane on the approach to the intersection, separated by a concrete median with splay curbs if possible, and have a protected bike lane width of at least 2 metres if possible (one way). In the Netherlands, most one way cycle paths are at least 2.5 metres wide.[6]

Protected intersection design based on a common Dutch model, preserving the physical segregation of the cycle lane throughout the intersection.

Reduced radius could increase difficulties to turn for larger vehicles (trucks and busses), so in some cases, partly 'climbable' islands have been devised, similarly to what could be found on center island of some small roundabout.

3D view of a protected roundabout, as commonly used in the Netherlands

Protected roundabouts[edit]

Protected roundabouts are a variation of protected intersections for lower traffic flow, without the traffic lights.[7]

Alternative dutch roundabout

Alternative design with increased distance from intersection for cycle and pedestrian crossing and motorists having priority over cyclists may be safer and more practical with double direction cycle path.[8]

Examples outside the Netherlands[edit]

Here is a list of some protected intersections outside the Netherlands:

Country City Crossing Year of Opening
Canada Vancouver Burrard Street and Cornwall Avenue 2014
Canada Vancouver Burrard Street and Pacific Street 2017
Canada Waterloo, Ontario King Street and Erb Street, Uptown Waterloo 2017-18
Canada Ottawa Dynes Road and Fisher Avenue 2019
Canada Ottawa Dynes Road and Prince of Wales Drive 2019
USA Salt Lake City 300 South and 200 West 2015 [9]
USA Austin Tilley Street and Zach Scott Street 2015 [10]
USA Austin Manor Road and Tilley Street, 2015 [10]
USA Davis, California Covell Boulevard and J Street 2015 [11]
USA San Francisco 9th Street and Division Street 2016 [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Protected Intersection". Alta Planning & Design. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Junction design in the Netherlands | BICYCLE DUTCH". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  3. ^ "Why Salt Lake City Chose to Build the First Protected Intersection for Bicycling in the U.S." CityLab. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Out of the Box Transcript.docx" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  6. ^ "How wide is a Dutch cycle path? | BICYCLE DUTCH". 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  7. ^ Video:Dutch roundabout and blog post on the Youtube Chain and web site 'BicycleDutch'◘
  8. ^ David Hembrow 2014 post about safer roundabouts, with 2018 update and statistics
  9. ^ Schmitt, Angie. "Salt Lake City to Install Nation's First Protected Intersection for Bicycling – Streetsblog USA". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ Andersen, Michael. "It Just Works: Davis Quietly Debuts America's First Protected Intersection – Streetsblog USA". Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  12. ^ Boone, Andrew. "Eyes on the Street: SF Gets its First Protected Intersection – Streetsblog San Francisco". Retrieved 2018-04-04.

External links[edit]