A bike box is a special intersection pavement marking designed to reduce crashes between vehicles and bicycles. Boca Raton recently implemented bike boxes on NE and NW 2nd Streets in the downtown as part of the changes to these streets to accommodate the Brightline station.
Bike boxes will improve safety only if motorists and cyclists understand how to use them, therefore, please share this article with friends and family. Lacking this understanding, the boxes could actually contribute to crashes because of motorist and cyclist confusion. See the BocaFirst video at the end of this article for a cyclist view of navigating the intersection.
Portland, Oregon has developed detailed bike box educational materials. Portland is a bicycling leader in the United States.. Bike Boxes | Understanding Portland’s streets | The City of Portland, Oregon (portlandoregon.gov). At the bottom of the Portland article is a short video illustrating the intended usage of bike boxes included here:
Boca Raton’s Situation
The city has implemented two bike boxes in the downtown recently. One is at the intersection of NE 2nd Street and Federal Highway in the westbound roadway and the other is at the intersection of NW 2nd Street and NW 1st Avenue in the eastbound roadway. The two yellow highlights in the following pic shows their locations.
The purpose of these bike boxes is to make cyclists more visible to motorists and, thus, improve safety. Prior to the changes, NE and NW 2nd Streets had dedicated bike lanes. The Brightline-driven changes removed the bike lanes to make way for wider pedestrian sidewalks. Sharrows were painted onto the roadway after the bike lanes were removed.
The sharrows signal to motorists and cyclists that they are to share the roadway. So, the bike boxes give cyclists priority in the queue such that when their traffic signal turns green the cyclists enter the roadway with the sharrows first and are more visible to following motorists.
There is currently no signage at the bike boxes explaining any of the above to motorists and cyclists. Sharing this article will help educate motorists and cyclists regarding bike box usage.
The City of Boca Raton has implemented bike boxes in an attempt to mitigate the increased risks to cyclists caused by the removal of the dedicated bike lanes on NE 2nd Street. However, since the bike boxes are new to Boca Raton motorists and cyclists, information needs to be provided on how to use them. Bike lane signs and more education is needed.