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Friday, December 7, 2012

“Bike bays” make left turns safer [BeyondDC]


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 abike 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 theirright, which then curves around 90 degrees and allows them to cross perpendicular to the original lane.
The idea should be familiar to anyone who has driven much in New Jersey, where the “New Jersey left” or “jughandle” essentially performs the same function for cars on state highways.
San Francisco recently opened a bike bay at the corner of Market Street and Valencia Street, where about 1/3 of cyclists going south on Market turn left, crossing over multiple lanes of traffic. Complicating matters, Market Street has streetcar tracks, which cyclists turning left have to cross over. Without the streetcar tracks a normal bike box might do the trick, but with them the bike bay is better.

San Francisco’s new bike bay. Photo by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

[Keep reading at BeyondDC]

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