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Seattle installs "Bike Box" on Capital Hill, new bicycle safety device

This week Seattle installed a new bike safety device called a "bike box" at the intersection of 12th Avenue and Pine on Capital Hill.  A second bike box is schedule to be installed at 12th Ave and Madison later this fall. The purpose of the bike box is to encourage more bicycling in Seattle by creating a safer roadway. Hopefully it will also reduce the number of Seattle bicycle accidents involving vehicles.

The bike box consists of a green box with a white bicycle symbol inside. The green box is paint in front of the white car stop stripe.  The box prevents bicycle/car collisions by placing cyclists at the front of the vehicle queue. The boxes improve safety for all roadway users by increasing awareness and visibility of cyclists; helping cyclists make safer intersection crossings, especially when drivers are turning right and bicyclists are going straight; and encouraging cyclists to make more predictable approaches to and through an intersection.

According to the SDOT: Cars must stop behind the white line at the rear of the bike box and cyclists should enter the box itself. When the light turns green, cars and cyclists may move through the intersection as usual, with cyclists going first. Motorists turning right on green should signal and watch for cyclists to the right, especially in the green bike lane of the intersection. New signage will help motorists and cyclists understand the new roadway feature. No right turns on red are allowed at these intersections. 

Other U.S. cities have found success using these bike boxes. Portland, New York City, Baltimore and Minneapolis all use bike boxes. 

Serious injuries often result from Seattle Bicycle - car accidents including traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and death. Washington state law, RCW 46.61.755, says that a bicyclist has all rights and responsibilities that a vehicle driver has.  About 700 bicyclist die every year in bicycle accidents, two-thirds of those suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident.  Helmets are key to putting yourself in the best position to avoid the most serious head injuries or death.

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