"Bike bays" make left turns safer
As American cities become more cycling friendly, bike lanes themselves are becoming more diverse. The toolbox of street design options available to planners is broadening to include new tricks and layouts. One such new bike facility is the "bike bay," which make left turns across traffic safer.
Bike bays, also sometimes called Copenhagen Lefts, combine the functions of a bike box, which provides a waiting zone for turning bikes, and a bike sneak, which directs cyclists onto a particular riding angle. The idea is to have cyclists who want to turn left exit off the main bike lane and onto a separate slip lane on their right, which then curves around 90 degrees and allows them to cross perpendicular to the original lane.
Another example of a bike bay can be found in Cambridge, Massachusetts, right outside Harvard University at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Church Street. There a median separates the northbound lanes from southbound, preventing cars from turning left. Rather than forcing left-turning cyclists to cross over 2 lanes of cars and rush to make a sharp turn at the curb cut, it's better to have them cross perpendicularly, with the crosswalk.
But since the crosswalk is at a major entry gate to Harvard, there's a lot of pedestrian traffic, making it desirable to separate bikes from both cars and pedestrians. Thus a bike bay, which gives cyclists their own space right next to the crosswalk.
So far there are no bike bays in the DC area, at least as far as I know. But it's one more potential tool to use at complicated intersections. With more bike lanes and more streetcars on the way, it's possible this may someday be a useful concept for our region.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
- In San Diego, an example of how "within walking distance" does not always mean "walkable"
- Rent in our region is expensive. Does that mean it's unaffordable?
- Think you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 91
- So you've got a friend in town and they're really into trains. Here's where to take them.
- The Obama administration says zoning is at the heart of some huge economic problems
- This square in Philadelphia is everything DC's Franklin Square could be
- How Barcelona gets bicycling right