In light of the cyclist who was wearing a helmet, reflective gear, and lights getting killed by a possibly-drunk SUV driver in a Kirkland intersection this morning, it seems timely to share this video (via my friend Chris) on how Holland does a proper junction for vehicles and bicycles. First, here's a conceptual video that shows how a four-way stop doesn't consume much extra street space, allows cyclists to make safe turns, and helps drivers from accidentally crushing their friends on the road:
Next, here's the intersection in practice, including room for street parking:
Admittedly, this sort of transportation overhaul may be more than mewling freeway defenders like Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin are ready to embrace. The status quo must be upheld at any cost because we have hills, roads are narrow, our city has a pinched "hourglass" geography, Olympia holds us hostage to our own political fecklessness, and other excuses we've heard a million times. But on highly trafficked suburban arterials, where the roads are wider, officials could—and should—throw down short dividers between bicycle and vehicle lanes and reclaim a few more feet of roadway for cyclists.
Imagine what that sort of protected bike lane would do for this intersection in Kirkland, where the cyclist was hit so hard this morning that, according to media reports, his bike split in two:
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Likewise, Seattle should be capable of building similar bicycle infrastructure, at least on wide busy roads like Dexter Avenue North (where Michael Wang was fatally struck by an SUV in August while wearing a helmet) and at intersections used frequently by bicycles like University and Campus Parkway (where Robert Townsend was fatally hit in September while wearing a helmet).
Not just a sharrow, not just a painted bike box, not just a bike lane. But real infrastructure to protect cyclists and establish clear intersection priority. Infrastructure that that both saves lives and encourages people to ride a bicycle for their commutes without the risk of serious injury or death. It seems that if our politicians could divert a fraction of their energy they put into defending the convenience of freeways, they could actually make differences in life or death issues that is actually good for cities. Sorry to be on so high on my goddamn high horse, but I fucking hate updating this graphic: