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Old 09-12-07, 03:45 PM   #1
richardmasoner
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Cyclist right-of-way over cross traffic at bike path intersections?

The Midtown Greenway Coalition in Minneapolis is doing some research and looking for examples of bike path intersections where a bike path crosses a city street and motorists are required to stop while cyclists have the right of way.

They prefer U.S. examples, but anything worldwide is okay.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-12-07, 05:57 PM   #2
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The multi-use paths in my county all have stop signs where they cross roadways, so cyclists are required to stop. It's not always easy for motorists to see cyclists on the multi-use paths, so it makes more sense for the cyclist to stop and make sure that either the motorist sees him and is waiting, or the road is clear and it's safe to cross. I've seen motorists come very close to getting rear-ended because they stopped on a 50 mph roadway to let a cyclist cross.

Cyclists who don't want to stop at every road crossing have the right to use the roadway whether or not there is a cycle path present, and more and more of us are doing this.
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Old 09-12-07, 07:26 PM   #3
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Mark pretty well sums it up. I have never heard of a bike path users having right-of-way over motorists at such an intersection, and I would be very reluctant to seize the right-of-way because of the visibility problems to which Mark alludes. I am not against bike paths, but their intersections with the rest of the roadway system need to be well engineered.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:11 AM   #4
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Cars generally don't yield as a result of a sign. The only way to give cyclists the right of way is to place an actual stop sign that reqires cars to stop regardless of what's on the bike path.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:22 AM   #5
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I know of some bike LANES that cross on-ramp merges where a bike has the right of way over merging traffic....in Portland. Pretty clear signage.

I can't think of any full street crossings from bikepaths where bikes have right of way. it seems it would have to be a signaled or stop signed intersection, or one where the bicyclist pushes a button to trigger a signal or triggers it via a pavement sensor.
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Old 09-13-07, 01:45 AM   #6
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I know of some bike LANES that cross on-ramp merges where a bike has the right of way over merging traffic....in Portland. Pretty clear signage.

I can't think of any full street crossings from bikepaths where bikes have right of way. it seems it would have to be a signaled or stop signed intersection, or one where the bicyclist pushes a button to trigger a signal or triggers it via a pavement sensor.
Man, they're all over around here, complete with tall bushes and trees to block the view of the road from the path (and vice versa). No signs, just a raised hump with blue paint and small 'yield' triangles on the road. They terrify me, but cyclists here go over them willy-nilly, chatting with friends and barely looking up, and every car stops -- never even heard of an accident. It's truly mind-boggling.

It would require nothing short of railroad crossing guards in the US. And even then...
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Old 09-13-07, 05:07 AM   #7
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It may vary from state to state but here in CT I believe the legal interpretation of those white crosswalks is as follows.

Traffic should yield to pedestrians at marked locations
A walking bicycle "pusher" is a pedestrian
A mounted bicycle rider is a vehicle like all others on the roadway and should yield right of way to the vehicles on the more major roadway.

The signage most often used is "cautionary".

Bottom line, don't trust the cars to understand the laws involved, its too complicated.
Usually I find that if I behave like a car on the roadway I can expect that I am conforming to the law
I also find that many motorists think of bicycles as pedestrians, not vehicles. Thery are wrong but large.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:22 AM   #8
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My crossposted response to your crosspost:


From a legal perspective, in many states cyclists do have the right of way at all trail crossings. If
a) a trail crossings has a crosswalk; and
b) your state has a law giving cyclists on sidewalks and crosswalks the "rights and duties" of pedestrians, as most do; and
c) your state gives the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks

then cyclists have right of way at the trail crossing. There was recently a case in Virginia where this was litigated after a collision between a car and a cyclist at a trail crossing. The court ruled the cyclist had right of way, even though there was a stop sign on the trail. The reasoning was that cyclists have the "rights and duties" of pedestrians, and pedestrians have no duty to stop at stop signs. The only signal that pedestrians have a duty to stop for in VA is a "Don't Walk" sign.

As a practical matter, around here cars won't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, let alone cyclists. The people that run the trails do everything they can to get cyclists to stop at crossings, because they know that cars can't be relied on. Recently, after a cyclist was killed at a local crossing, the cops were out patrolling the crosswalk for a few days. Instead of making sure that motorists stopped for the crosswalk, they were making cyclists dismount and walk and waving the cars through.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:34 AM   #9
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The midtown greenway crosses very few city streets, and where it does, they are not well traveled. It is more of an issue on the trail in St. Louis Park-- where it crosses busy four lane roads (or is that still considered part of the greenway?).

I believe it will ultimately be dangerous in the US to give bikes the default right of way--- when most US drivers still refuse to yield to peds in clearly marked crosswalks. Bikes travel too fast.

This concept is part of a large discussion here in Norway, since it is confusing who has the right of way when bike paths cross roads. Drivers almost always yield to peds. The "correct" way, according to some, is for the cyclist to dismount and walk the bike across the crosswalk-- in which case he always has the right of way. About 80% of cars will yield for bikes who are still riding--- so I only need to worry about the 20% that won't yield. At discussion is just making it law that bikes simply have the right of way in a crosswalk bike path--- but the concern is that bikes travel too fast, and if they just fly out into traffic it will be dangerous. These are all common sense issues....
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Old 09-13-07, 07:05 AM   #10
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This is one of those issues that will require some careful input by both sides.

I drive in an area where the road crosses a trail that I also frequent on a bike and as such I am very aware of where the trail crosses this 2 lane country road.

I have almost never seen a car stop for the bicyclists (or the pedestrians either) dispite a yellow caution ped crossing sign and a white striped crossway painted on the road. Since there is a nearby creek that tends to mask out the noise of approaching cars,, it is necessary to stop (or slow to a crawl) and look for cars before riding through

On the other hand I usually approach this crosswalk at about 25mph in a 35 zone and am prepared to stop (probably putting myself in danger from the cars behind). I have noticed though that joggers or cyclists that do not slow down appear so fast at the crosswalk that even at 25mph and being prepared to stop that it is difficult to do so without sliding.

Poor crosswalk design, trees and bushes, a curve in the road and downhill. This requires all concerned parties to understand the crossing from both points of view.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
I know of some bike LANES that cross on-ramp merges where a bike has the right of way over merging traffic....in Portland. Pretty clear signage. ...
Intersections requiring a "weave" maneuver of motorists and bicyclists, typically at free merges (e.g. freeway offramps), diverges (e.g. freeway onramps), and right turns, are problematic where traffic is dense and fast. Would Oregon-style "blue zones" work on 45 to 55mph roads? I fear not, as much as I wish they would. ...
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Old 09-13-07, 07:51 AM   #12
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what ARE you suggesting, john E?

unsigned free merges without indications of bike traffic are even MORE problematic.

regardless, the OP asked about crossings where bikes have right of way, and I provided one. they work in Portland, sounds like they work in Denmark.

I think a crosswalk crossing a major road would present challenges in design. traffic will be going fast, bikes wouldn't be safe as road speeds would be high, just rolling out into the road a sure recipe for disaster.

Mabye slowing traffic down to reasonable speeds all the time in the area of the crossing, with signalized lights triggered by sensors as bikes approach the intersection?
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Old 09-13-07, 08:20 AM   #13
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At a crossing location, if the path traffic volume is greater than the road traffic volume, then install stop signs for the road traffic. Otherwise, install stop signs for the path traffic.

If the road traffic is so high that path users waiting at the stop signs cannot cross within a reasonable amount of time, e.g. according to MUTCD warrants/acceptable LOS, then signalize the path/road intersection with appropriate demand-activation sensors that detect cyclists and pedestrians. Another reason to signalize the path/road intersection is if sight lines/sight distances are inadequate and cannot be improved.

The only reason I can think of to treat the situation any differently than for a standard road-road intersection (the above policy for which is detailed in the traffic engineering standards manuals) is that timing must be adjusted slightly for cyclists, who will not cross a wide intersection as fast as a motor vehicle, and who require a shorter wait time for an acceptable level of service.

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Old 09-13-07, 09:06 AM   #14
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At a crossing location, if the path traffic volume is greater than the road traffic volume, then install stop signs for the road traffic. Otherwise, install stop signs for the path traffic.

If the road traffic is so high that path users waiting at the stop signs cannot cross within a reasonable amount of time, e.g. according to MUTCD warrants/acceptable LOS, then signalize the path/road intersection with appropriate demand-activation sensors that detect cyclists and pedestrians. Another reason to signalize the path/road intersection is if sight lines/sight distances are inadequate and cannot be improved.

The only reason I can think of to treat the situation any differently than for a standard road-road intersection (the above policy for which is detailed in the traffic engineering standards manuals) is that timing must be adjusted slightly for cyclists, who will not cross a wide intersection as fast as a motor vehicle, and who require a shorter wait time for an acceptable level of service.
You've hit the nail on the head. In short, treat the intersection as a "real" intersection where vehicles paths cross. The engineering standards are well established, they just need to be applied. It gets to a deeper issue of who bike paths are constructed, where there is often no appreciation that the path will be used by vehicles, travelling faster than pedestrian speeds.

Although I have the feeling that many bike paths would never be built if they were held to any sort of real standard.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:06 AM   #15
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At a crossing location, if the path traffic volume is greater than the road traffic volume, then install stop signs for the road traffic. Otherwise, install stop signs for the path traffic.

If the road traffic is so high that path users waiting at the stop signs cannot cross within a reasonable amount of time, e.g. according to MUTCD warrants/acceptable LOS, then signalize the path/road intersection with appropriate demand-activation sensors that detect cyclists and pedestrians. Another reason to signalize the path/road intersection is if sight lines/sight distances are inadequate and cannot be improved.

The only reason I can think of to treat the situation any differently than for a standard road-road intersection (the above policy for which is detailed in the traffic engineering standards manuals) is that timing must be adjusted slightly for cyclists, who will not cross a wide intersection as fast as a motor vehicle, and who require a shorter wait time for an acceptable level of service.
And if traffic on the road and path are approximately equal but both relatively low, I see nothing wrong with a good old fashioned 4-way stop.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:10 AM   #16
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Actually, the concept of a stop sign for the vehicles reinforced by the painted crosswalk is a pretty good idea.
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Old 09-13-07, 08:23 PM   #17
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We have a few places where an MUP crosses city streets, here in the Salt Lake valley. I'm always surprised at how good the car drivers are at yielding the right of way to bikes and peds. I was just stopping to wait for a car which was almost at the intersection today, when he slammed on the brakes and screeched to a stop. I would not have stopped had I been that close when I saw a bike. On the other hand, at the intersections with lights, I have seen several motorists blow the red. Go figure.
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Old 09-14-07, 12:16 AM   #18
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There's one spot on the Gateway Trail, a ways east of town, where a road-width commercial driveway has a yield sign to the path. I'm pretty sure all of the other crossings have stop signs on the trail.

The bike path on the U of M Transitway, between the campuses, has sensors in the trail that light up warning signs for the driveways and roads that the transitway crosses. They're pretty small roads though, mostly industrial traffic.

Expressways in the south SF bay have wide shoulders occasionally marked as bike lanes, and signs on the entrance ramps that bikes may be crossing ahead. Though these roads are marked at 45-50mph, the bikes have the right of way relative to incoming traffic.
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Old 09-18-07, 09:25 AM   #19
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There is such an intersection on a bike path in Easthampton Massachusetts where the road crosses the bike path and leads into a parking lot. I don't remember exactly where it is, but the road has stop signs and the bike path does not. The reason is that the parking lot, the bike path, and the intersection are on private property so the owner(s) ha(s/ve) some freedom in how the right-of-ways are set.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:45 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by richardmasoner View Post
The Midtown Greenway Coalition in Minneapolis is doing some research and looking for examples of bike path intersections where a bike path crosses a city street and motorists are required to stop while cyclists have the right of way.

They prefer U.S. examples, but anything worldwide is okay.

Thanks in advance!
Try Finland where motorists are required to give way to cyclists at intersections. It works quite well over there.
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