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Can redesigning intersections save cyclists' lives?

Posting in Transportation

We may be encouraged by governments worldwide to get on our bikes rather than drive to work, but without the correct infrastructure, this can result in greater injury and fatality rates on our roads.

Protected bike lanes are one way to try and separate the car and bike on the road, but when it comes to intersections, even this basic protection melts away.

But what if you can design intersections in a way that gives a driver better visualization and minimize the risk of collision?

This is the question behind urban planner Nick Falbo's design, proposed as part of a transport challenge issued by George Mason University's School of Public Policy.

As shown in the video below, a raised corner refuge island forces traffic to turn further into the intersection, which protects right-turning bikes and gives cyclists time before cars begin their turns. By the time a car comes across the island, it will have already turned by 90 degrees -- giving drivers additional time and a different angle in which to see both cyclists and pedestrians.

In the video, Falbo comments:

"It doesn't matter how safe and protected your bike lane is if intersections are risky, stressful experiences."

Quite right. However, it's not only cyclists at risk from motorist blind spots but also the motorcyclist. According to the World Health Organization, half of those who die on today's roads are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists -- and we often sadly lack protection for the latter.

The intersection is an excellent idea, although unlikely to be adopted in cities where bicycle use is not so widespread. For the U.K., adoption is likely to be non-existent -- since we now have to ride and drive on roads that are already dangerous for both drivers and cyclists due to potholes, with little money allocated to improve infrastructure.

Via: Fast Co.Design

— By on February 24, 2014, 4:30 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure