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As you note, it is standard operating procedure for bicyclists to wait in front of the cars at intersection. Anything else would be inviting unnecessary danger to the bicylcists safety.

It is amazing to see how far behind the law is on social developments like increased bicycling.

Are there reports that bicyclists have been ticketed for waiting in the sidewalk (it should be easy not to block pedestrians)? And have the police ticketed the countless cars inching into the crosswalk and / or making a right tuen without even pretending to make a stop at that same intersection at the same time? Just wondering.

4 million intersections sounded way high, so I checked the article you link to. It looks like you misread the second line of what is intended to be a table of how many intersections need to be distinguished by naming the quadrant (NW, NE, SW, SE):

418 intersections in two quadrants
71 intersections in three quadrants
28 intersections in four quadrants

together with 6287 single-quadrant intersections, this gives:

6287 + (2*418) + (3*71) + (4*28) = 7448

7448 total intersections in the district, not 4,187,128.

you coming to the BAC leg committee this week?

Pedestrians are already threatened by illegal behavior in crosswalks and fight for their rights/space as much as we do. This is hardly a solution, and making enemies of our active transportation brethren will not help us get the actual engineering fixes that we need. Sorry WC, I'm not joining you out on that limb ;)

2405.1 No person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle in any of the following places, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, in compliance with law, or at the direction of a police officer or traffic control device

I feel that it's necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic and that's why I wait in the crosswalk. I'm considerate to pedestrians and try to stay out of their path. Seems legal to me.

I'm not convinced that bike boxes are a good thing. The underlying premise -- that through cyclists should keep to the right of other traffic at intersections -- seems flawed.

Serious injury or death from the dangerous right hook can also be avoided by pulling into the space behind the last car in the lane, instead of in front of the first car. Might that not be a better alternative? It avoids conflicts with pedestrians, does not require special legislation, does not require special infrastructure, and is what is expected of other vehicles on the street. The objection will be the risk of being rear ened. Is that a significant risk?

@Eric_W - I heard that someone was threatened with being ticketed but have heard of no actual ticketing. But if a cyclist stopped in the crosswalk were ever hit, I would not be surprised if that wasn't given by the police as the primary cause.

@ohmypolarbear - It was a late night of looking for stats on the number of intersections. In the end, the number doesn't matter, but 4 million did seem high.

@ Meredith - no

@Contrarian - I think the point fo bike boxes is that you should NOT be to the right at intersections, but instead move to the center in front of traffic.

@NeilB - you're talking about vehicular cycling. Opinion> VC is great, and a safe way to get around, but only 1-3% of people are willing to do that. If you want to get ridership up into the Amsterdam/Copenhagen region you have to go farther to accommodate cyclists

@NeilB: is that what you do on your bike? If so, how often do you bike in the city? Do you think that is how bicyclists should operate?

"4 million intersections" is a gross error - you really thought D.C. had 6 intersections for each resident? That's 3 orders of magnitude off. Maybe you shouldn't post so late at night?

Nice form, "anonymous critic". I don't recall seeing that screen name here before. It was a mistake and everyone obviously knew it was one.

Just tell him with your real name. Washcycle can handle it.

David Alpert looked it up. It's more like 6400 bike boxes. If I didn't post late at night, there either wouldn't be a blog or I would never get to talk to my wife. So there wouldn't be a blog.

But you can have a full refund on today's post.

@ Eric w: I don't always take the lane behind cars at a red light, but I do it much more often than not. It seems like a good way to avoid the right hook, plus avoid being doored if there are cars parked along the right curb. I don't like passing to the right of a line of waiting cars. This is particularly true when I'm riding with my wife and daughter on our triplet (i.e. three-seat tandem). That bike is so long that I need a lot of room to make turns, so I'm even more likely to be riding in the middle of the lane, in which case I'll just pull up behind stopped cars at a red light.

Even though this what I typically do, I don't know for sure that it is the safest way. My question about the risk of being rear-ended was not rhetorical. I think pulling up behind the last car at a light really could increase the risk of being hit by the next car pulling up behind you. I don't know the relative risk of being rear-ended vs. the risk of right-hook if you stay off to the right. Also, I wonder if there is a risk created by the bike box if you are in a bike lane to the right of a a car lane, and then as you are moving leftward to the center of the bike box in front of the line of cars, the light happens to turn green just then. I really don't know what's better.

As for where I ride: 50% suburbs, 50% city; 50% single bike, 50% triplet; have ridden extensively in other cities, suburbs, countryside. My riding technique will vary depending on traffic volume and speed, and lane width.

@NeilB: I can't find a rear-ending at a light in the crash-type manual so I'm going to call it rare. Having said that, I have been hit in just that fashion. It was hard enough for me to think "I'm going to die now" but soft enough to not harm my back wheel or cause me to fall (so I overreacted, but I thought the person was doing it on purpose in which case I was screwed)

If I rode a boat like what you've got, I'd ride in the same manner you do.

@Jeff, I have no interest in making enemies of our active transportation brethren. If such a rule were to be proposed formally it would have to be, in my opinion, signed off on by the Pedestrian Advisory Council (when that finally exists). We're not asking to take space from them, just borrow it when they aren't using it (while being ready to hand it over on a moment's notice). I just want to make that legal with their permission.

@Neil: Wow! a triplet! I guess I would not split the lane with that bicycle either!

I usually don't like riding to the right of cars either and in my daily commute I don't have to very often. I guess I am just lucky.

Keep on rolling.

I know CM Wells is in support of bike boxes. He bikes everywhere he goes and definitely feels that it is safer for all road users for cyclists to be at the front of intersections. I will bring this up at the legislative committee meeting tonight to see if it would be feasible to get legislation through. I think the priority should be complete streets and that bike boxes should be included in any Complete Streets plans.

But how do you just borrow it? How do you give it back? If its clear and you pull into it and a pedestrian decides to cross you are left to either stay there and block their passage in their space, move forward illegally into the intersection putting you at risk of being hit or awkwardly slinking back behind the stop bar line.

option 3 works. So does getting off your bike and turning it sideways [or even lifting it over you're head Jakarta-style*]. In general, I've found the crosswalk to be longer than a bike so there is usually room to move forward and back within the crosswalk without blocking a pedestrian.

*In Jakarta there were signs that read "Be polite. Lift your bicycle in crowds." I don't actually recommend this, though I saw people doing it at the inauguration.

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