This Friday, June 1 the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission meets 7-9 AM in the city building at the corner of Madison and 5th. On the agenda will be discussion of some citizen-submitted Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and a topic that I am proposing the commission take up: addressing various bicycle/motorized vehicle right-of-way conflicts in Corvallis by removing ambiguity. I will post about the former in the coming month as I rank the projects. The commission will vote on the CIP projects in July’s meeting.
I will present this document which discusses three situations in which cyclists must merge into a motorized vehicle lane. For example, going eastbound on Monroe crossing 5th, a cyclist must move from a bike lane to a shared lane (indicated by a sharrow); going eastbound on Jefferson crossing 5th, a cyclist must move from a bike lane to a shared lane (with no sharrow) and going westbound on Harrison approaching 9th, a cyclist in bike lane must cross a right turn lane.
Only the last situation has a recommended treatment in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (place “yield to bikes” signs ahead of the merge). I have found little information regarding the first two situations. This may offer an opportunity for Corvallis to implement and study innovative treatments for reducing bicycle-car conflicts, improving the safety (perceived or realized) of such intersections and removing the most commonly cited reason (safety) for not adopting biking as a primary mode of transportation.
Safety concerns can significantly influence a person’s decision to bicycle for transportation or recreation. Bicyclists inherently understand that they are vulnerable road users. However, understanding bicyclist safety issues has proven difficult for engineers, planners, and facility designers. Traditionally, safety problems have been identified by analyzing police crash reports, and improvements have been made only after crashes have occurred. Such methods are not sufficient to fully understand and effectively address bicyclist safety concerns; waiting for crashes before responding with countermeasures carries a high price because many bicycle crashes tend to be severe.