Seattle Bike Boxes Explained (Again), Plus New Bike Maps
Every once in a while, Seattle’s Department of Transportation seems to read my mind. They’ve just announced an educational video on the topic of bike boxes: “I’m not sure everyone on the road—car drivers and bicycle riders alike—knows what a green bike box is and how to behave around it,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Co-Chair, Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.
I can vouch for the ignorance of the driver of the black Lexus SUV that rolled to a stop right over the bike box in front of the East Precinct on Pine Street. She seemed only vaguely familiar with the crosswalk, for that matter. Now, all the distracted-driving population has to do interrupt their cell phone conversation for a second, navigate to the bike box video here, and learn all about it.
I’m all for educational videos, but they may want to discuss having them broadcast as PSAs before movies around town–at least there would be the prospect of someone who needed to see it, seeing it. Well begun, half done, and so forth.
Where SDOT can count on people visiting their site to learn more is when their new bicycle maps come out–they’ve handed out almost 120,000 copies since 2007. You can request a printed 2012 Seattle bicycle map now, via online form or by phone. They’ll mail it to you. If you can’t wait, there’s an online version you can play with as well.
One of the most eye-opening ways to gauge Seattle’s progress on bike infrastructure is to go somewhere else: I snapped the above photos at a lakeside park in Thun. It was a sunny weekday afternoon, and I saw what I thought was lively usage of the bike parking area. My hosts snickered. On the weekends, the whole area fills up with several hundred bikes, they told me.
In my hotel, there are not one but two magazines devoted to varieties of bike tours. They’re aimed at the Swiss, who apparently like to bike about their country and see the sights that way. Yes, there’s an Alps segment–but as the e-bikes for rent in my hotel lobby attest, the Swiss aren’t stupid about how hard bike touring should be. How many Seattle hotels do you think have e-bikes in the lobby to help tourists with Seattle’s hills? Excelsior!