Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Innovative Way To Reduce Intersection Collisions Between Cars and Bikes

There is no question that many of the car versus bicycle cases that my law firm handles arise from intersection collisions.  For the most part those crashes are caused by the driver simply not seeing the bicyclist for one reason or another.  Many times the driver has no good explanation for why he or she failed to see the cyclist right in their line of sight.  To be fair, some intersections in and around Chicago are just so busy and congested with cars, bikes, pedestrians, lights, signs and all sorts of other distractions that it is not surprising when a crash occurs.  In such intersections perhaps the solution is physical separation of motorists and bicyclists.  But how can that be accomplished?

Apparently, the Dutch have found a way.  It is called the "floating bicycle roundabout," and it looks awesome.  I know what you're going to say:  It looks epensive too.  It probably is, but of course people are needed to build such things, and these days jobs are in short supply.  Also, to the extent that these things can increase ridership, decrease traffic congestion and reduce the number of injuries and deaths among road users, I'm all for them.

The video below is courtesy of Momentum Magazine.



4 comments:

  1. Looks like it could make sense where a major trail crosses a major suburban arterial or freeway. I'm not sure how you imagine fitting something this big into an intersection in Chicago.

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  2. I believe that there would be a significant reduction in bicycle motor vehicle accidents if all bicyclists obeyed the traffic rules. Stop running stop signs and red lights. Signal your intentions. Ride in the same direction as motorized traffic. Use proper lighting at night. Don't ride on the sidewalk or in the crosswalk.

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  3. Richard W, Do you really think that if bicyclists didn't ride on sidewalks that there would be fewer motor vehicle accidents? But why not keep the motor vehicles off the sidewalks? And will your rules also keep motor vehicles from killing us in the crosswalks?

    If I ride facing motorized traffic I can see the menace that I face, rather than getting blindsided from the hind side. If I come to a traffic light, how much safer am I to wait until it changes, instead of looking left and right and going again?

    Signal my intentions, you say? Usually my intention is to go straight ahead. But I live in fear of vehicles behind me making a turn into my path without regard to my obvious, if unsignalled, intentions.

    I'm totally with you on using proper lighting, reflective marks, and bright clothing at night.

    Makers of bikes could do a MUCH better job than now by painting parts of bikes in reflective colors and by building reflectors or even lights into bike seats, wheels, and handlebars where they could not be so easily stolen as the attachments are.

    The police could make themselves very useful, if instead of looking to entrap cyclists in Central Park, they would videotape cyclists riding at night in dark clothing and no lights or reflectors. Give them a free copy of the video and a ticket to be sure they pay attention. Then let them come to 'court' to watch the video of their dark selves and waive the fine.

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  4. Woody, I'm having a hard time picturing you doing much riding at all with that kind of mind set. Riding against motorized traffic is a terrible idea for reasons that become very obvious if you ride more than a mile or so per year; it hasn't been recommended practice for decades and it's also against the law. A head-on collision is a lot more likely to be deadly than a side-swipe, and being rear-ended is extremely rare. In a head-on collision, the total force of the impact is your speed plus the motorist's speed. If you're both going in the same direction, your speed is subtracted from the total force.

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