It’s a bike box. As we’ve reported before, bike boxes are a method to help protect bikers by making them more visible at intersections. They can also help with turning maneuvers.
Seattle’s first real bike box was installed last night on Pine at 12th. One cool thing I noticed while passing by was that the stencil crews were using for the sharrow markings were cut from a recycled cardboard box.
Somehow, I had always imagined they had something more high tech than that. But how cool. That’s how I would have done it (not that I would support guerrilla bike markings…).
I bet the biggest complaints about the bike box will be the removal of the right turn on red. However, as Josh at Publicola pointed out months ago, much of the world exists without right turns on red at all, and they are doing just fine. In fact, until Gerald Ford, the U.S. was doing just fine without them, as well. They are dangerous to cyclists and pedestrians (not to mention other vehicles), and I would love to see Seattle embrace more right turn on red restrictions. Once the First Hill Streetcar goes in, right turn on red bans are going to be necessary to protect cyclists in the cycle track, so there are more of the restrictions to come (hopefully).
Cars have little to fear from bike boxes. Bikes often use the space in front of cars as waiting space anyway, and these boxes just give them a space to do it without blocking the crosswalk. I also like how the city’s first bike box is going in directly in front of the SPD East Precinct. I imagine we will see more consistent compliance there…
My name is Dominic Ratthé. I am the author of the french Montreal bike blog Rouler à vélo (Riding by bike). Would you give me the permission to publish those two pictures on Rouler à vélo? I would like to write a little something about the bike boxes and I would include a link to this page in the text.
Have a great day and, by the way, we are jealous in Montreal about those green boxes!
I live right near there and noticed that last night. Good stuff.
Went through there last night (while they were painting it) and this morning before cars were around. Hopefully this bike box has positive results for both drivers and riders – it’d be great if car drivers aren’t majorly inconvenienced by it and cyclists have a safer experience.
We’ll see how it works. I saw a few of these in other cities (I think I remember a few in Vancouver) but no one really seemed to be using them, and I’m not sure if I myself would go into the box when I get up to a red light. But I suppose it does provide greater visibility.
Something most motorists do not acknowledge is that right turn on red is *only* permitted if you make a complete stop and then only turn right if it is safe to do so. I’ve seen too many rolling stops where the driver never completely stops and just rolls through the intersection.
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No right turn on red, huh? Lets just add to the carbon footprint by more cars needlessly idling at stoplights.
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