Bike Boxes

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While in Vancouver I picked up a brochure called “Bike Boxes & Advanced Stop Lines”. It is put out by the City of Vancouver. As explained in the brochure, “A bike box is an area on the road marked by red pavement with white bike symbols. It extends across one or more traffic lanes at the approach of an intersection. When the traffic signal is red, only cyclists may enter the bike box.”

In plain English, the box allows a cyclist to go the front of a lane(s) of traffic stopped for a red light. This in turn gives the cyclist the oportunity to turn right, go straight ahead or turn left, depending upon the intersection. The brochure goes on to give four reasons for using bike boxes:

– increasing the visibility of cyclists.

– helping cyclists make safer turns and crossings.

– encouraging cyclists to make more predictable approaches to and through intersections.

– providing space at the front of an intersection to help cyclists avoid breathing vehicle fumes.

See this page for a photo of a “green bike box” in Portland:

http://bikeportland.org/2008/03/17/portlands-first-bike-box-is-now-complete/

I didn’t get a chance to travel around Vancouver looking for a bike box but considering the brochure it would appear that they are using them. This would seem to be one inexpensive way to provide safer facilities for cyclists on busy roads and at the same time pass a message to drivers that the City considers cycling to be an important part of the transportation network (is anyone listening?).

John.

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