How Does a Bike Box Work?

How Do I Use It?

If the light is green, don't use it. Vehicle traffic will still be moving and cyclists and vehicles are to follow the rules of the road (and share it!)

If the light is red, cyclists should set up in the bike box depending on where they're going (left, right or straight). The bike box assures that vehicle traffic won't get in your way as you go through the intersection and cause a dangerous situation. Make sure you use hand signals so the vehicles behind you know where you're going.

There's a video on YouTube (using Legos) showing how to properly use a bike box. Take a look:

Where Can I Find Bike Boxes?

Many cities already have bike boxes in certain intersections, including Portland, Seattle, Tucson, Madison, Indianapolis, Tallahassee, and others. New York City has more than 100 bike boxes across all its boroughs. Bike boxes are even more common in Europe.

More: 4 Bike Laws You May Not Know About

Do They Work?

The research is mostly positive, and it's believed that they definitely work when traffic is starting after a red light.

However, the city of Portland noticed that right hooks are actually increasing in intersections with bike boxes when there is an established green light (or, when the bike box isn't actually used). There may be several reasons for this, including:

  • Portland's research concluded that more cyclists are using these intersections during their commute since the bike boxes were installed.
  • The bike boxes have created a "perception of safety" among drivers that cause them to be less careful in intersections.

Whatever the case, bike boxes are beginning to pop up more and more in cities across the United States, part of an ongoing initiative to make the road safe for everyone who wants to use it.

More: How to Protect Your Rights as a Cyclist

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