The true history of stop lights is that they were a London invention of the late 1800s, originally meant to stop all cars so pedestrians could walk basically everywhere on the streets.
That concept was corrupted in 1930s America until everyone but cars was very ruthlessly pushed off streets. Lights then became a symbol of car domination, negotiation of flow mainly for themselves.
A brilliant story out of Scotland suggests some may be returning to the old and more sensible modes of transit. Bikes ride in packs with technology to control lights and stop all the cars.
Thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, a bike-mounted, remote-controlled device using a military-grade encrypted signal lets the lead cyclist hold the lights. The Ultra-Smart Cycle System, when pressed on approach to the junction, sets a specially timed traffic light cycle in motion to hold traffic for 45 seconds, enough time to get all of the riders through.
Of course my favorite part of the story is military-grade encrypted signal making kids smile.
The idea is for a large group of children to cycle to school on an agreed route, with parents encircling them and monitoring traffic. Every Friday around 45 parents and children cycle to Shawlands primary, smiling, cheering and bells ringing.
Bicycles basically bring joy and collaboration where cars used to turn people angry and competitive.
Instead of road “rage” these families experience jubilation, which in 1950s UK used to be called “rediscovering common humanity” and “getting rid of our enemies”.