While I love these new signals, my only complaint is that they are often placed too high, oriented in a fashion more appropriate for those who are driving. In other countries, not only are bicycle traffic signals nothing new, but they are usually oriented in a much more visible position and will often also include a mini-signal on the near-side of the intersection. New signals in the Netherlands even include a countdown until the next green – a feature Dutch traffic engineers claim reduces red light running. To further explain what I mean by "bicycle-scale traffic signals", I'd like to share my favorite examples from cities I've visited in Europe.
This signal in Haarlem, The Netherlands controls a small intersection which crosses a busy cycle track. The mini-signal is oriented directly within the field-of-view of people bicycling. The girl in the photo just hopped off her bike to cross the street by foot – ah, the joys of the step-through frame.
Here's another from Haarlem with a countdown feature. The signal just turned red and the white dots will slowly disappear around the circle before it turns green.
what is planned for the Market / Valencia intersection, though for the Valencia project those turning left will instead be guided into a right-side queue box. I think I prefer the design in this photo over what the SFMTA envisions.
people in Munich are complaining about because they are too narrow to comfortably pass or ride two abreast. They are ironically advocating for more on-street bike lanes over these narrow tracks.
I'm really looking forward to seeing more bicycle traffic signals pop up in San Francisco and am glad that cities as diverse as New York, Portland, Long Beach, and San Luis Obispo are using them. (Of course, such signals have been around for decades in other countries.) Unfortunately, current Caltrans standards state that bicycle signals should only be used as a last resort and under very limited conditions [CA MUTCD 4C.102(CA), 4D.104(CA)]. We need to advocate strongly for these devices, as making passage through intersections easier is an essential part of opening up bicycling for more people. I hope that when new signals are installed, engineers take care to choose and orient the devices in an appropriate fashion for the people who will be using them.