Portland's 'Bike Boxes' Seek To Reduce Accidents

<p>Blue boxes painted on the street at key Portland intersections are part of an effort to reduce the amount of bikers hit by cars turning right.</p>
January 8, 2008, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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"Traffic engineers have been planning to put the colorful boxes at 14 intersections after logging six fatal bike accidents last year, including the deaths of cyclists Tracey Sparling and Brett Jarolimek within two weeks in October."

"Both deadly October crashes involved the 'right hook,' the most common type of Portland bike wreck, where a car turning right fails to see a bicyclist riding along the street's right side. City Bicycle coordinator Roger Geller said his office gets many complaints about that kind of crash. Comments from bikers, staff and consultants helped identify intersections where right hooks are common."

"Bike boxes aim to prevent those crashes by making bicyclists more visible, said Rob Burchfield, city traffic engineer."

"The boxes reserve a spot in front of cars at red lights, Burchfield said. When the light changes, the position gives bikes 'some measure of priority. They're able to move out of the intersection first, ahead of cars.'"

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Published on Friday, January 4, 2008 in The Oregonian
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