Thursday, February 11, 2010

Seattle Track-Crossing Sharrow Markings Keep Cyclists Upright

It's a problem that many cyclists have to deal with on a regular basis, all around the country. Few things are more dangerous than having to cross railroad tracks. With the upcoming increase in train travel and train improvements in the city of Columbus and throughout Ohio, this situation may become more prevalent than it is now, even.

The common wisdom, of course, is to cross them at as nearly a perpendicular angle as possible. The less chance we have of slipping into the groove to either side of the tracks, the safer we'll be when we ride.

Seattle has a situation where one of their bike lanes crosses a train track at a nearly parallel angle, though. There's not much way around it for cyclists, who didn't want to have to veer out into traffic to make the crossing safely. But the city of Seattle came up with a solution using a sharrow-like set of instructions that is almost impossible to miss. Check out this video from Streetfilms and see their simple answer.





Couldn't be simpler, could it? And this is a situation where on-street markings and infrastructure changes really do help out. Even if you don't have a bike lane or sharrow on the road in question, adding this bit of bike-friendly infrastructure is a great idea to keep people upright and safe.

And the road signs at this point might also go a long way to showing drivers that cyclists need to take this a little differently than they do - and to expect them to "unexpectedly" veer out. In fact, a big sign that says "Cyclists' Railroad Crossing - Please Watch Out" or something like that would be a big help.

People, not speed.

3 comments:

  1. We could that on Liberty Road, where the rail road tracks cross it, just south of Powell.

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  2. As if Powell gives a crap about cyclists

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  3. That attitude by Powell is definitely a problem. I'm going to venture a guess, though, that there aren't a whole lot of transportation-based cyclists in Powell. And I don't want to start throwing out stereotypes, but my personal experience with riding with club/training riders hasn't been all that good from a standpoint of being a law-abiding and courteous cyclist. I'd guess that the Powell folks have that same outlook when it comes to cycling. This is a situation where cyclists can be their own worst enemies.

    On the other hand, I also wonder how much that attitude keeps potential transportation cyclists OFF the Powell roads...thus making the situation worse.

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