Commuting by bike? Learn About These Awesome Seattle Bike Safety Initiatives Already in Place

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Seattle is a bike-friendly city. A current goal of the city includes becoming the most bike-friendly city in America. There is even a bike-sharing program that aims to make bicycling more convenient for Seattle residents.

The Seattle Department of Transportation, in support of this endeavor, has initiated the Bike Smart program city-wide. The primary purpose of this program is two-fold. Bike Smart is launched in hopes of encouraging more residents to take up bicycle riding while also improving bike safety for all. Identified goals include tripling the amount of bicycling in the city by 2017 and reducing the number of bike crashes by 2017.

Bicycle Safety Initiatives in the City

Seattle has long supported cyclists in the city, and the following tools and safety efforts help promote public safety while inviting more people to consider cycling as a means of transportation or leisure activity.

  • Green lanes: These lanes are designated bicycle lanes and are visibly identified by their solid green paint. The green paint signals areas where bikes and motor vehicles cross paths. Motorists are required by law to yield to bicyclists in these lanes, although cyclists are warned to be alert for vehicles that do not stop when crossing these lanes.
  • Bike boxes: Seattle does not yet have bike boxes in place, although they are considering this for a future initiative. Bike boxes provide space for bikes to wait at traffic lights in front of vehicles where they are safe and highly visible.
  • Bike lanes: These are lanes designated specifically and only for cyclists. The lanes are typically four to five feet in width and provide a safe area of the roadway where bikes can travel separately from motor vehicles.
  • Sharrows: Sharrows are not exclusive bike lanes, but are shared lanes with on-street markings that warn motorists of the fact that bikes also use this lane. Sharrows also provide markings that identify the safest space in the lane for bicycles to travel. Sharrows are typically used when there is not enough road width to create a bike lane.
  • Contraflow lanes: These lanes are also designated bike lanes, but move in the opposite direction of motorist traffic. They are usually found on one-way streets with no parking and are marked with signage or delineators.
  • Bike dots: Bike dots are used as a wayfinding tool, and are pavement markings. These dots are not to be used as a guide on where bicycles should travel as in sharrows, but rather are used to help with bicycle routes.
  • Loop detectors: Loop detectors are technical tools that alert a traffic signal when a car or bike is waiting at a stoplight. There are markings on the pavement at loop detectors that show cyclists where to place the front tire in order to signal the alert.
  • Buffered bike lanes: These bike lanes are separated from motor traffic by a segment of cross-hatched lines on the asphalt.

Get Help if You're in an Accident with a Motorist

Even with all of Seattle’s safety precautions, bicycle traffic accidents do happen. If you're injured in a bike accident, you may need legal help. Max Meyers specializes in bicycle accidents and is ready to help you with your case. Contact us to set up a consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.