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A roadway setup known as the “bike box,” a painted-off area for bicyclists at the front of an intersection, can help them stay safe at urban, signalized intersections, research by the Oregon State University College of Engineering indicates.

Bike Box

The project employed a bicycling simulator that replicates traffic conditions to examine the safety enhancement ability of three types of intersection treatments – a mixing zone, bicycle signals and the bike box.

Inside Looking Out

With the bike box treatment, the idea is to use paint to box off the front of the intersection from cars, essentially holding them back so bicycles in the bike lane get a head start through the intersection and are more visible to motorists.

The findings, published in Accident Analysis & Prevention, are important because the number of cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles is on the rise, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and nearly half of all bicycle-car crashes happen at intersections.

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