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Summer Blockbuster Alert: Watch Feds analyze bike/truck interactions in SODO

Watch your back Jurassic World, because USDOT just dropped a pair of videos analyzing truck and bike interactions in SODO that will make your box office numbers look like that goat in the T-Rex habitat.


As we reported in May, people from USDOT, SDOT, King County Metro, freight companies and bicycle advocacy groups got together in SODO for a day of learning from each other and figuring out how large vehicles and people walking and biking can use the same streets more safely.

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The day included presentations, rides in large trucks and a bike ride around SODO. Look for cameos from Cascade Bicycle Club and West Seattle Bike Connections (oh hey, Seattle Bike Blog advertiser Bob Anderton!).

The first video gives an overview of the event:

Don’t worry, we won’t leave you waiting after that exhilarating cliffhanger. The second video shows the different needs and perspectives of people biking and people driving large vehicles:

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16 responses to “Summer Blockbuster Alert: Watch Feds analyze bike/truck interactions in SODO”

  1. Ian

    you can tell the video was taken during the strike, with all the trucks backed up

    1. Curi

      Nope, that happens once or twice a week. It’s normal for them to be stacked up in the center lane like that, often on Thursdays for some reason.

  2. I actually think the Airport Way/6th Ave S route would have been more interesting to show south of the Spokane Street Viaduct (as opposed to East Marginal) because it’s a more common bike route and the city plans to improve it in the next few years. It would also show:

    – Maybe how Airport Way changes in Georgetown’s commercial district
    – Making a left turn to continue along a bike route
    – A lower-speed corridor, at least for a few blocks
    – An all-way stop sign at 6th/Industrial
    – If lucky, trucks maneuvering into and out of parking spaces; in any case, lots of parked trucks

    In any case, it’s always great to see officials out on bikes!

    1. Brian Wood

      Actually the city has indicated planned improvements on both routes. But, your right that Airport Way is an important corridor to factor into an effective bike network. Both corridors are important due to the lack of effective East-West routes. Trains are the real road block to good bike networks in SODO, and the number of trains will be increasing markedly in the future. We need safe ways to move East-West, such as has been afforded the automobile with the West Seattle Bridge. My hope is that the Cycle Snake idea will come to Seattle: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jul/14/bike-lanes-bridge-copenhagen-new-cycle-snake-cykelslangen

      1. IIRC The BMP suggests a PBL on E Marginal south of Spokane. The Airport/6th Ave S/SODO Trail route from downtown through the north end of Boeing Field is actually in the 2015-2019 implementation plan, which is a lot more concrete! We actually have a standing plan with a time frame for a PBL/MUP-only route from the ID through Georgetown (even if the timeframe is farther out than we’d like)!

  3. JAT

    First video: I would have like to see every one of those speakers wearing the magic Styrofoam hat – it lends such an air of authority!

    Second video: with all the captioned call outs, it would have been good to note the chronic standing water in the buffered bike lane on Marginal.

  4. Riders need education; Mostly edge riding – inviting close passes and unsafe lane sharing. Even when there are Sharrows they stay in the door zones, filter up on the right of slowed & stopped traffic, and even go straight through a right turn only lane instead of using the Sharrow marked through lane! Take a Cycle Savvy class as soon as you can!

    It is not our responsibility to be visible but anyone who would wear a grey jacket to blend into the pavement (camouflage) is putting too much trust in the attentiveness of vehicle drivers around him! The others were so much more obvious in their HiViz yellow that such a fashion choice over safety does not speak well for an advocate & ‘bicycle lawyer’.

    1. ChefJoe

      Must be those darn laws and not seeing parked cars with opening doors.

      Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe

      1. Josh

        “as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe” works out to a minimum of 11 feet from the curb on streets with parallel parking — that’s the width of the door zone for standard passenger vehicles, according to NCHRP research, and riding with any part of the bicycle hanging into the door zone is not safe.

    2. Doug

      people who put any trust in hi-viz clothing place way too much trust in drivers’ attentiveness.

  5. Gary

    I agree with Bill, the HiVis jacket really stands out. I have been wearing a type III vest for years and always thought I got more room on the road because of it and now I can clearly see how much more visible I am from the driver’s perspective.

    As for riding on a road with a 45mph speed limit, I rarely do that. Cars will drive 50mph and they just don’t have enough time when they overtake me to adjust their lane position, or adjust their spacing with the cars in the lane adjacent to pass me with any extra clearance.

    No wonder these folks preferred the door zone to the death zone. I would too.

    1. BrianWood

      I second the HI-Vis recommendation, but remember it requires UV light! If you ride at night HI-Vis = white. I also agree with the speed issue. Fortunately both WSDOT and SDOT appear in favor of 1. Reducing speeds and 2. Separating bikes from cars on arterials. The latter efforts will likely need strong voices of support to counter the cries of motorists that think higher speeds and more lanes make their trip faster (rather than just inducing more traffic, more congestion and more crashes).

      1. Gary

        HI-Vis night: That’s why I opted for a type III vest. It’s the one that’s required for workers on a 55mph road. They have the reflective stripes to go along with the Hi-Vis color. And it goes over all of my various outfits so unless it’s hot summer (I have a Hi-Vis reflective strap thingy) I’m covered.

        The second thing is I ride with bright lights all day/night. No one in that video was using those. I also find that it helps get the traffic to move appropriately.

      2. Gary

        Time… it’s kind of interesting:

        at 50mph over taking a bicyclist at 15mph = 35mph overtaking
        If you see a bicyclist at 1/4 mile away you’ve got 4.2 seconds to do something. If you only see them at 1/8th of a mile (220 yds) you have 2.1 seconds to react. Clearly not enough time to look in your side mirror and decide that you can edge the lane to the left giving the bicyclist more room.

        At 4 seconds, you’ve got “just enough” time if you are paying attention.

        Is it any wonder that on a busy street bicyclists hug the curb and feel like cars/trucks pass way too close?

      3. Brian Wood

        Another “time” quandary to ponder:

        How much time does a cyclist have to respond to a pothole or road debris while hugging that curb? Looking for traffic, pedestrian’s and car doors takes time away from evaluating the upcoming pavement. I have found that my natural hazard avoidance reaction often moves me, all to abruptly, into the full travel lane. I frequently opt to take the lane rather than being suddenly forced into it. I hate to say it, but without proper bike lanes John Forester’s Vehicular Cycling method is often the only viable option.

    2. Josh

      With higher speed limits, I find riding in the lane much more important.

      The faster a driver is moving, the narrower their cone of attention — riding at the edge makes it easy for drivers to simply not see a bicycle until there’s not even enough time for a panic stop, let alone a safe lane change.

      I’m willing to share a wider lane side-by-side at lower speeds when drivers have more time to react and the consequences of error are smaller, but on a 45 mph street, I’ll be damned if I do anything that makes it harder for a driver to see me, or makes them think it’s OK to just edge over a little and pass within my lane.

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