Author: Michael Smith
The first difference I noticed when I stepped out of the Taipei airport was on the road into the city, (because an airport is an airport, no matter where you go…). I was struck by the fact that Taiwan has a crap-ton of scooters on the streets and highways. In Taipei, there are 415 scooters per 1,000 people. In Kaohsiung [Gao-shung], (the second largest city), there are 830 scooters for every 1,000 people. See www.taipeitimes.com
When different types of vehicles have to share the road on a regular basis, problems can arise. Duh…
So the solution that Taiwan came up with is to have little boxes ahead of the stop lines and crosswalks for their two-wheeled friends to sit in a prominent position while they wait to make their “left-hand turn”, and another box behind the crosswalk, but in front of the car/bus stop line, so that scooters going straight can get a head start when the light turns green.
I’m not pretending that Buffalo has enough scooters, Harleys, or bikes to warrant a whole new traffic pattern throughout the city, but I think this idea could make it a lot safer for bikers of all sorts to ride with traffic in low-speed areas that are popular for cyclists. *cough* Elmwood Ave. *cough*
Bike lanes are great, but what happens when bikes and cars and pedestrians get to an intersection seems to still be an area of concern for pretty much everyone involved.
These boxes would help keep cyclists visible, help cyclists turn left safely, give them a head start to get pedaling before cars start whizzing by, and slow the acceleration of cars so there isn’t any street racing at green lights. Win-Win-Win-Win if you ask me.
Another issue I’ve seen taken up on BR is (bikers not respecting the rules of the road (see here).
If bikers in these areas (Elmwood, Delaware, Niagara, Pearl, Main, Richmond, Grant, Hertel, Amherst, Kenmore, Forest, Delevan, Ferry, Porter/North, Lafayette, etc.) had a safe zone on the road to wait, they just might wait. Think of bikers like cats; if it fits, it sits. (Especially when it sees a box made just for them!)
I know, you may think I’m ignoring the East Side; nope! These boxes belong on Broadway, Sycamore, Clinton, William, Swan, Seneca, Genesee, South Park, Louisiana, Ohio, Abbott, Ridge, McKinley, Michigan, Jefferson, Fillmore, Bailey, and Kensington.
Lead image from www.bikexprt.com