Thursday, January 10, 2008

Portland Acts to Protect Cyclists

From the New York Times, 01.10.08:

"Ghost bikes," riderless and painted white, were placed at two busy intersections in Portland, Ore., last October, makeshift memorials to two bicyclists killed when they were hit by trucks in accidents that month.

This spring, at those same intersections and at 12 others across the city, "bike boxes" will be laid out on the roadway to provide a clearly designated place for cyclists, in front of and in full view of drivers, to wait for traffic lights to change. The boxes will be marked with signs and wide stripes alerting drivers to stop behind them at red lights.

Portland, which has a higher percentage of people who bike to work than any other large American city, is already considered one of the country’s most bike-friendly urban centers. But the boxes, believed to be the first such to be put to use by any city in the country, will make cyclists even safer and more comfortable on the street, biking advocates and transportation officials say.

By allowing cyclists to wait in front of motorized traffic, the bike boxes are intended chiefly to reduce the risk of "right hook" collisions, the kind most frequently reported in Portland, in which a driver makes a right turn without seeing a cyclist who is in his path. Drivers will not be allowed to pass through the bike box to turn right on a red light, although many right hooks now occur after the light has turned green, when traffic quickly accelerates...

"Bike advocates around the country are looking to Portland to create a model of how an American city can be a bike-friendly city," (Roger Geller, bicycle coordinator for the Portland Office of Transportation, said. "We feel that, and we take that seriously." (Read more.)
Another bicycling-friendly street enhancement won by advocacy in already bike-friendly Portland, OR.

The New York Times has paid considerable attention in recent months to Portland's bicycling culture. Which prompted my friend Bob, a proud resident of the Rose City and part-time Sasquatch seeker, to comment: "Hopefully their articles are making New Yorkers want to be more like Portlanders; and not making them want to move here."

Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Anonymous said...

The article says that the bike boxes are beleived to be the first in the country. Its not so... there's one at 14th and Folsom, San Francisco.

sic said...

They are popular in the UK but drivers still fail to leave them empty and just go through to the junction stop line. Then they look at you funny as you try and tell them what they are doing is illegal, drivers are definately getting more stupid theses days