‘Bike boxes’ installed on northwest side streets to enhance safety

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Indianapolis Department of Public Works has installed the city’s first bike boxes on northwest side streets in order to enhance safety for bicyclists.

The boxes are colored areas marked on the pavement to designate a space for bicyclists to pull in while waiting with automobile traffic.  The boxes are located at the intersections of 71st Street and Cross Key Drive and 73rd Street and Spring Mill Road. The intersections were chosen based on the increasing number of bikers traveling in the area due to the close proximity to the Monon Trail and Eagle Creek Park.

Officials hope these designated areas will reduce car-bike collisions, increase cyclist visibility and give bicyclists a head start when a light turns green. The boxes are a 14-foot wide rectangle in front of the stop line for motorists but behind the pedestrian crosswalk. They are the width of one or more travel lanes and provide room for several bicyclists.

“Our city continues to gain national prominence as a bike-friendly community, and promoting and enhancing safety on the city’s streets and bikes lanes is a priority,” said DPW Director Lori Miser. “Simple features like bike boxes are easily built into our existing street projects, and they have the potential to increase safety for cyclists and drivers.”

DPW officials said the boxes are effective at reducing the likelihood of a “right-hook” collision, one of the most common types of accidents involving bicyclists.  These types of collisions occur when drivers turn right as a bicyclist proceeds straight through an intersection.

Bike boxes have been used in Europe and Asia since the late 1980s but have been gaining popularity in recent years in U.S. cities, including Portland and Salt Lake City.

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