Bicycler wrote:kwackers wrote:Red lights on the other hand exist to reduce congestion and give everyone a fair bite of the cherry. They're not about safety - more accidents occur at traffic lights than pretty much anywhere else. In fact the general misconception that 'green means go' is easily the biggest risk! In contrast once the lights are removed you're simply back to a junction and the risk reduces.
Do you have a source for the introduction of traffic lights to existing junctions increasing accident rates? It seems counter-intuitive, which doesn't make it wrong but I would like to see some evidence. In many cases the original junction would have been a simple crossroads which I had thought were generally associated with high accident rates and basically verboten on new roads.
There was a paper I read somewhere - not sure if it was the TRL website or (more likely) something to do with insurers.
I'll try to dig it out.
Basically the premise is that traffic tends to speed up slightly and go 'nose to tail' through the lights increasing rear end collisions. Then there's the green light issue; motorists pull out blindly when the lights change because they mistakenly believe they have "right of way" and they'll do this even though traffic is approaching without checking it's likely to stop. Ditto turning into side roads through lights, they'll turn in without checking that their path is clear, preferring instead to keep an eye on oncoming traffic.
The 'good' bit was most of the accidents tend to be vehicle damage only (hence why I'm thinking it's an insurance paper I read), although if the 3rd party is a cyclist or pedestrian then the dynamics are likely to be very different.
Where a normal junction is fundamentally different is that there are no presumptions based on light colour. If traffic is approaching then it likely wont stop, any implied right of way doesn't change. People don't just go on green, boot it on red or stop 'prematurely' because the lights are changing.
In that respect I'd suggest it isn't counter-intuitive at all, but pretty much what you'd expect.