A recent PEMCO Insurance poll found that while only a third of the Washington State respondents they contacted were familiar with bike boxes, a majority of respondents thought they were a good idea.
About 52 percent of respondents in the state said they supported green bike boxes on city streets even after the pollster explained that they could limit driver’s ability to make free right turns on red. 64 percents of respondents in the state said they had never seen a bike box before.
However, people are still a little unsure about how the green boxes work. A majority of people in the state knew it was illegal to stop inside a bike box, but that’s only 53 percent. Nine percent thought it was legal to stop inside them, and 38 percent were not sure. Though Seattle got its first bike box only a year and a half ago, there is obviously a long way to go to educate people on how to use them. To help, the city made an online video recently:
Essentially, a bike box is just an advance stop line, which appear all over the city. Often, they are used to stop traffic far enough away from an intersection to allow cross traffic to make left turns. People are already familiar with the way they work. A bike box simply adds a green area on the other side of the line to allow people biking a place to be visible while they wait for the light or to make left turns more easily and safely.
The PEMCO poll compares “Portland” to “Washington” and finds that Portland drivers are more aware of the rules as they relate to bike boxes (about 2/3 of driver know how to use them there). However, Portland has many more of them and have had them for much longer. In the Seattle region, bike boxes are still very rare and exist mostly in neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Fremont and the International District. Once bike boxes are installed downtown (to accompany a protected cycle track), many more people in the region will be exposed to them and how they work.
Here’s a look a the poll results: