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New red lights have appeared in Amsterdam. While the city wants to sex workers out of the city centre to a new red light zone, these red lights are for cyclists

Amsterdam’s most dangerous intersection. Ferdinand Bolstraat-Stadhouderskade.

The intersection of Ferdinand Bolstraat and Stadhouderskade is the most dangerous spot for bikes. At times, heavy street congestion is flanked by the Heineken Experience and a tourist blue boat hub. Flood a few thousand people on bikes into the spot and you might get bushwhacked.

A New Experiment

Geert van Ham, chairman of the Blackspots working group: “You have to do something. We have devised all possible measures at the intersection, we have looked at the layout, but people still often cycle through a red light. While this is really a very dangerous intersection. The blackest black spot in town.”

Red Light Bar installed on Ferdinand Bolstraat

Red light bar for cyclists in Amsterdam

Cyclists are now introduced to a LED-red light strip at the intersection in addition to the traffic lights, a first in the city of Amsterdam. The intent is to make bicyclists more alert in the area.

Technical Issues

The lights were supposed to be installed in February of last year but there were some problems. “Because the traffic lights must always work. It should not be the case that if the strip were to fail, for example due to excessive rainfall, the traffic light would no longer work either,” says Van Ham.

First Impressions

The intersection is frequently a rat race of bicyclists, breaching red lights. While lights are often slow to change, others will take liberties and go when convenient, often pressuring those around them to do the same. But with fast-moving traffic and deceptive sight lines, it’s easy to understand that something needs to be done to address this intersection.
My first encounter was one of surprise when I rolled over them as they turned red. While I thought they turned on a little prematurely, I rather liked the idea. Personally I don’t want to look like a douche by riding through them and I imagine others may feel the same.
How well they will work remains to be seen but it’s an interesting step forward in biking infrastructure.

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