Hillcrest Gets New Cyclist-Protected Boxes At Intersections
Many of the intersections in San Diego’s Hillcrest area now have “bike boxes” painted on right lanes in front of crosswalks. San Diego officials hope these green cyclist-only squares will increase traffic safety and make the city more bike-friendly.
Research out of Portland State University inspired San Diego lawmakers to create these new bike boxes. In their 2011 study, Portland researchers discovered that traffic accidents between cyclists and vehicles decreased after bike boxes were painted at intersections. Study authors also found that cyclists felt safer getting around the city and motorists were more likely to yield.
While the study shows positive results, drivers and cyclists in San Diego still have a lot to learn about how to use these boxes properly. There have already been a few reports of accidents, and many cyclists don’t feel safe using the boxes yet. The majority of drivers continue to park their cars in these boxes, which causes cyclists to avoid even attempting to use them.
For this new safety initiative to work, all drivers must learn to stop before the green boxes. Many cyclist safety groups like Bike SD are trying to spread this information online.
Besides Hillcrest, San Diego has many bike boxes in National City. Depending on how well these cyclist boxes perform, San Diego leaders hope to add more across the city in the near future.