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Bicycle Program: Bike Boxes

Seattle launches new bicycle safety improvement
Bike Boxes – Let’s Get Behind It

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will be implementing the first bike box at E Pine Street eastbound at 12th Avenue. Several other locations will be installed this fall including E Madison Street eastbound and westbound at 12th Avenue as part of the new E Union Street bike facilities and 7th Avenue S northbound at S Dearborn Street . The aim of these new measures is to encourage more cycling by creating a safer, more comfortable road environment.

What is a bike box? The bike box is an intersection safety design to prevent bicycle/car collisions. It is a painted green space on the road with a white bicycle symbol inside. In some locations it includes a green bicycle lane approaching the box. The box creates space between motor vehicles and the crosswalk that allows bicyclists to position themselves ahead of motor vehicle traffic at an intersection.

Why are bike boxes being installed? The main goal of the bike box is to improve safety by 1- increasing awareness and visibility of cyclists; 2- helping cyclists make safer intersection crossings - especially when drivers are turning right and bicyclists are going straight; 3 – encouraging cyclists to make more predictable approaches to and through an intersection; and 4 – providing space at the front of an intersection to help cyclists avoid breathing vehicle fumes.

What motorists should know

When the traffic signal is yellow or red, motorists mush stop behind the white stop line. Don’t stop on top of the green bike box. Keep it clear for cyclists to use. Typically at bike box locations , right turns on red will not be permitted .

When the light turns green, motorists and cyclists may move through the intersection as usual, with cyclists going first. Motorists turning right on green should signal and watch for cyclists to the right, especially in the green bike lane in the intersection.

What bicyclists should know

When the traffic signal is yellow or red, enter the bike box from the approaching green bike lane. Stop before the crosswalk.

When the light is green, proceed as normal. Be aware of right-turning motorists, especially while in the green bike lane in the intersection.

How to use bike boxes if you are …

A Cyclist

When the light is red or turning red, enter the bike box along the bike lane. Once you are in the bike box, position yourself according to the direction you are intending to go.

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.

A Motorist

When the signal is red, you should stop at the stop line marked on the road. The stop line will be accompanied by the following sign:

Turning right on red will be prohibited at the following intersections:

  • Pine Street eastbound at 12th Avenue
  • Madison Street eastbound and westbound at 12th Avenue

See a how to use a bike box video from Portland

Evaluation of bike boxes at Signalized Intersections

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