- Although new traffic signals on Second Avenue instruct drivers not to turn left when cyclists have right-of-way, many drivers have failed to obey the rules.
The first three days after a protected bicycle lane opened on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle, the number of bicycles using the thoroughfare jumped to 1,099 cyclists a day, according electronic counters monitored by the Seattle Department of Transportation. That's triple the previous daily average for cyclists on the street.
City officials reported this afternoon that "travel times for drivers on Second Avenue have been better than originally forecasted." The first day the cycle track was open, September 8, "it took drivers approximately one minute longer to travel the 0.71 miles on Second Avenue than before the conversion."
Second Avenue had a notoriously dangerous one-way bike lane on the left side of the busy arterial, where lawyer and mother Sher Kung was killed late last month after a box truck turned left to University Street across the bicycle lane. It was the 61st bicycle-and-vehicle collision on the street in the past four years.
The new cycle track is physically separated from traffic, includes lanes going in both directions, and features traffic signals indicate cars are prohibited from turning left when bicycles have the right-of way. Nonetheless, many drivers have disobeyed the rules—leading the city to install more signs that read, "No turn on red."