Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes: Jamis Nova, Bike Friday NWT, STRIDA, Austro Daimler Vent Noir, Haluzak Horizon, Salsa La Raza, Hollands Tourer, Bike Friday tikit
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How much do people learn about problem areas?
An idea that gets thrown around a lot is that as the proportion of traffic that is cycling increases, cycling becomes safer. Generally there are argument is that motorized traffic learns to expect and what to expect from cyclists such that there are proportionately less accidents.
Anecdotally, I think that this is the case. Recently, the Arlington PD released the most troublesome intersections -- sorry I don't have a cite ... it was during a presentation -- and I was pretty surprised by the results. Essentially the crazy intersections with lots of cyclists did not appear on this list.
Here is the primary example ...
(1) Two right turning lanes from an I-66 exit ramp heading onto Key Bridge (north side of the picture)
(2) Heavily used path arriving from the east at a different grade from the exit ramp from the highway.
(3) Another heavily used path and commuter line arriving from the west along the sidewalk. Note that cyclists traveling along the sidewalk from the west are heading downhill.
(4) Motorized, cycling, and pedestrian traffic from the south is also very heavy.
This is an extremely busy intersection during rush hour. And a very fast intersection during off-peak hours. So one would expect people to be getting killed all of the time here. Turns out that despite the crazy design, no one seems to recall a cyclist-auto accident there for years ... reported or unreported. My thought is that everyone -- drivers and many cyclists -- realize that the intersection is a death trap and to expect cyclists zipping down the hill, popping up from the nearby park, cars aggressively trying to catch the light across the bridge, and so on.
I assume that there are similar observations elsewhere.