By Jason Leach
Published March 27, 2012
It's interesting that the Longwood Road Streetscape Plan has a picture of a proper bike box with coloured pavement in the lane and the box.
Our own city cycling committee is lobbying the province to make the 'official' bike box design in Ontario similar to the one they installed at Aberdeen and Studholme.
Oh, did you not notice there's a bike box at Aberdeen and Studholme? That's because it's invisible.
A bike box, or "advanced stop line", is a marked spot on the street before an intersection that allows cyclists in a bike lane to pull ahead of automobile traffic at a red light so they can safely turn when the light changes.
In most cities around the world, bike boxes are framed and painted bright, solid colours so their purpose is clear to cyclists and motorists alike.
Bike box in Portland OR (Image Credit: Flickr)
Not in Hamilton. Our bike network planners worry that painting a bike box will make cyclists unsafe in the rest of the city. As a result, the bike box is not painted and you can barely see it.
Setting aside the question of whether this fear even makes sense, it has the effect of setting an impossibly high bar to make any change to the way we denote cycling infrastructure. Either we change the entire city at once, or we're stuck with the lowest common denominator.