Almost four percent of Seattle’s commuters ride bikes, making it the fifth largest U.S. city in terms of biking participation. The participation growth does not seem to be slowing down, but the City of Seattle hopes that bikes soon will be. Cyclists traveling in the Second Avenue bike lane will soon be seeing speed bumps — to help them remember to slow down at pedestrian loading zones as well as at driveways and garage exits.
These speed bumps are in addition to other improvements such as the implementation of solid planter boxes to delineate the bike lanes.
Why are the speed bumps necessary?
Bicyclists traveling down Second Avenue are reaching speeds in excess of 15 miles per hour in the bike lanes. At these speeds, they are a danger to pedestrians and are also unable to stop in time for parking garage or hotel traffic that rolls into the bike lane.
The city hopes that by creating these zones for bicyclists, it reduces the risk of injury to all involved. And, to be clear, the "speed bumps" are really more accurately "speed humps" where there is a gently sloping hill incorporated into the bike lane rather than an abrupt blockage.
Some riders have stated that typical, shorter speed bumps would pose additional and more severe danger to bicyclists traveling within the bike path. These humps, instead, will extend a full 12 feet so bicyclists will not go flying in the air and suffer injury when riding over them.
Will the speed humps work?
There is certainly some debate as to the safety, efficacy, and usefulness of the introduction of speed humps into the bike lanes. Not surprisingly, there is no dispute that these devices decrease the risk to pedestrians and other vehicles in loading/unloading areas or garage entryways.
Whether the downhill riders will slow their speeds to avoid accidents remains uncertain; however, there have been successes elsewhere. In Vancouver, B.C., speed humps have successfully improved awareness of others crossing through or into the bike lanes and helped slow cyclists down.
The bicycle accident attorneys at Max Meyers Law PLLC take the safety of Seattle cyclists very seriously and know that even the most cautious riders are powerless to stop accidents.
If you or someone you care about was injured or killed in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, pedestrian, or cyclist contact Max today to discuss your options for injury compensation.