Image courtesy of City of Bloomington, In
A quick guide to understanding the new bike boxes appearing on the Bayard St bike lanes
The City of Pittsburgh will be installing a road marking on the new Bayard St bike lane project that may be new to many road users: bike boxes. The bike boxes will be appearing at the intersection of Craig St and Bayard St.
A bike box (or an “advanced stop line” if you want to impress your friends) is a designated area for bicyclists to wait at a red light. The main purposes of a bike box is to prevent collisions between cyclists and right-turning motorists, as well as help bicyclists make a left turn from the bike lane. The box creates space between motor vehicles and the crosswalk that allows bicyclists to position themselves where they need to be ahead of motor vehicle traffic at an intersection. Bicyclists are more visible to motorists when waiting in a bike box because they are in front of them, rather than beside them.
A bike box is marked by a stop bar for motor vehicles, white lines to designate the waiting space for bikes, and a bike symbol. The box itself is often painted green, along with the approaching bike lane that feeds it. Drivers must stop behind the stop bar, and not in the bike box.
Benefits of a bike box
- Increases visibility of bicyclists.
- Reduces signal delay for bicyclists.
- Facilitates bicyclist left turn positioning at intersections during red signal indication. This only applies to bike boxes that extend across the entire intersection.
- Helps prevent ‘right-hook’ conflicts with turning vehicles at the start of the green indication.
- Groups bicyclists together to clear an intersection quickly, minimizing impediment to transit or other traffic.
- Pedestrians benefit from reduced vehicle encroachment into the crosswalk.
- For further reading, check out a Seattle study on bike boxes
When You Drive
- If the traffic signal is green, proceed as through the intersection in the same way as next to a bike lane. Note that you can drive over or on top of the bike box.
- If turning right, always signal, check your blind spot, and yield to bicyclists going straight.
- If the traffic signal is red, you must stop behind the advanced stop bar. Don’t stop on top of the green bike box. This positioning provides you greater visibility of adjacent bicyclists.
- When the traffic signal changes to green, proceed through as usual. You must yield to bicyclists who are waiting in the bike box to go straight or to turn right. Before turning right, look for additional bicyclists that may be approaching on your side.
When You Bike
- When the traffic signal is yellow or red, enter the bike box from the approaching bike lane. Stop before the crosswalk. You may ride up to the front of the traffic queue where you may wait in the bike box. This positioning increases your visibility to adjacent motorists.
- Turning left: Move to the left of the bike box and signal that you’re turning left.
Going through: Position yourself in front of the through lane
Turning right: Move close to the right edge of the roadway and signal that you’re turning right.
- When the traffic signal changes to green, look behind you to verify yielding from adjacent vehicles, then proceed as usual. Be aware of right-turning motorists.
Check out this video produced by the City of Edmonton, ON
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