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Monday, October 12, 2015
Permanent bike boxes appear in downtown Boise to increase cyclist safety

The green-painted boxes make riders more visible, positioning them in front of stopped traffic to prevent the turning conflicts that can occur between cyclists and motorists at intersections.

Two kinds of boxes will appear on Capitol Boulevard at Myrtle Street, River Street, Idaho Street and Bannock Street in coming weeks. ACHD will conduct an educational outreach event today from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., handing out bike water bottles loaded with how-to pamphlets.

Boxes debuted in spring 2014 as part of the buffered bike lane pilot project on Capitol, Main Street and Idaho Street but were removed at the end of the experiment. The new, permanent boxes complement the buffered bike lane installed on Capitol earlier this year.

Bike boxes have been used extensively in Portland, Oregon, Chicago and New York City to reduce car-vs.-bike collisions. The concept puts the cyclist in high-visibility locations at intersections, where direction changes can create hazards.

The first kind of box – installed recently at Capitol and Myrtle – puts riders at the head of the stopped traffic to prevent the "right hook" accident where right-turning autos hit cyclists going straight (please see attached brochure). Once the signal turns green, the cyclists enter the intersection first, followed by the autos, which can go straight or turn right. Motorists are no longer allowed to make right turns on red lights.

The second box – to be installed at River, Idaho and Bannock – will help cyclists making left turns. Instead of merging across motorized traffic to be in position for a left turn, the cyclist rides into the intersection and stops in the bike box on the far side, positioned in front of cross-street traffic. Once the green light comes for cross street users, the cyclist enters the intersection in front of the motorized traffic, again reducing potential conflict.

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