Dutch city installs traffic lights that give cyclists priority when it’s raining

Rotterdam riders' waits reduced from three minutes to 40 seconds.

Generally regarded as the most bike-friendly country in the world, the Netherlands has long been praised for its impressive cycling infrastructure.  But now the city of Rotterdam is embracing new traffic light technology to help cyclists spend as little time in the rain as possible.

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Traffic lights installed on junctions where a cycle lane crosses a road have been fitted with sensors that can detect when its raining. These will then change the waiting times on the traffic lights to prioritise cyclists, reducing the amount of time that riders will have to wait before crossing from three minutes to just 40 seconds. Of course this means an increased wait for drivers, but as they’re sitting nice and warm in their cars then we think this is a fair trade-off.

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Although the traffic lights have only be installed on a single junction so far, if this trial is successful then the technology will be added to more locations across the city.

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The lights are just one aspect of a 40 point plan that is being implemented to encourage commuting by bike in Rotterdam, where 25 per cent of residents currently cycle to work, compared to 40 per cent in Amsterdam and 60 per cent in Groningen. However, even in Rotterdam the number of people cycling to work compares generously to London, where the figure is around two per cent.