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Clever Protected Intersection Popping Up In America To Keep Pedestrians And Cyclists Safe

Key Takeaways

  • Protected intersections separate cyclists and pedestrians from vehicles, increasing safety and visibility.
  • Unique corner islands and waiting zones benefit cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Intersection design forces vehicles to slow down when cornering, reducing the risk of crashes.

Pedestrian and cyclist safety is an ever-growing concern, with American roads proving risky for these groups. Big trucks and SUVs, like the popular Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Silverado, are more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists for several reasons. Still, a new intersection design (to the USA, at least) is attempting to rectify this, reports The Drive.

The protected intersection is slowly cropping up across the country in an attempt to keep cyclists safer. It does so by separating bicycles from vehicles. The setback between the vehicle lane and the bikeway makes it easier for motorists to see cyclists, unlike conventional intersections where everyone waits next to each other.

How Does It Work?

There are unique corner islands, which act as barriers between cars and bicycles. These create a safe gathering space for cyclists to wait and increase visibility for motorists and cyclists. Importantly, it also tightens the cornering radius, forcing drivers to slow down and take the corner with more consideration.

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There’s also a waiting zone for turning vehicles. Motorists can yield to bicycles during the turn but before crossing another bicycle path. But what about pedestrians? They also benefit from curb extensions. This provides them with a safer place to wait before crossing the road. The crossings are also shorter, and because of the extended intersection, pedestrians won’t have to worry about vehicles speeding around the corner.

Everyone Wins With A Protected Intersection

Earlier this month, the Seattle DMV implemented protected intersections in several areas of the city. The department cites a report by the Federal Highway Administration that says San Francisco’s first protected intersection saw plenty of positive changes. 96% of drivers yielded to people on bikes, and 100% of them yielded to pedestrians. Interestingly, this doesn’t mean that drivers are at a disadvantage.

Related

California Gets America’s Second-Ever Turbo Roundabout

Despite the name, this traffic system is about reducing crashes, not increasing speed.

The Seattle DMV claims that driving through the intersection is intuitive, with no “significant impact on travel time or traffic flow for people driving.” Car crashes at intersections may also be reduced, as motorists will be forced to corner at lower speeds and come to a stop to let pedestrians and cyclists through. It seems like a great idea, and it has worked with success overseas, particularly in places like the Netherlands, which has a huge cycling population. Hopefully, as this intersection design becomes more common, US pedestrians and cyclists will be less vulnerable on our roads.

Source: The Drive

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