Bicycle Signals

BikeSignalChurchStHarvardSquare

What is a Bicycle Signal?

Bicycle signals are basically traffic signals for bikes. They provide cyclists with their own signal phase, enabling them to more safely and conveniently cross intersections.  

Advantages of Bicycle Signals

Bicycle signals are useful in a number of situations, including where there are high conflicts between bicycle and motor vehicle movements; in intersections with unique geometry; where a bicycle movement is permitted but not a motor vehicle movement, at the confluence of an off-road path and a roadway intersection, or where separated bike facilities exist.  

Bicycle signals improve intersection safety by separating conflicting movements. By giving bicyclists their own dedicated phase, the chance of conflicts with motor-vehicles decreases, which improves both real and perceived safety at high conflict areas. Bicycle signals can be coordinated with other signals or be activated through loop detectors, push buttons, or other similar devices. 

Bicycle Signals in Cambridge

 There are currently two bicycle signals in Cambridge, one in Harvard Square and one in Porter Square.

In Harvard Square, cyclists headed northwest towards Porter Square have the opportunity to make a left onto Church Street, near Johnston Gate at Harvard Yard (see photo) by using the "jug handle" turn and the bicycle signal. In the near future, cyclists will also be able to access a new path linking Harvard Square with Mass. Ave. via Flagstaff Park.

In Porter Square, cyclists headed from the west on Mass. Ave. wishing to make a left onto Somerville Ave. can use a similar "jug-handle" to use a bike signal that is concurrent with the parallel pedestrian crossing.

 For More Information

 For more information about bicycling in Cambridge, please contact Cara Seiderman, cseiderman@cambridgema.gov, at 617/349-4629.