San Franciscans, if you were wondering what that green painted box on Scott St. is for, wonder no more. San Francisco‘s first green bike box now has a user-friendly picture of a bicycle stenciled on it. Bike boxes, or waiting areas for bikers to pull into at traffic intersections have been used in New York City and Portland, Oregon since 2008 and now have a home in SF too!
Here’s how a bike box works: the 14 foot-wide colored area is placed in front of oncoming traffic, but behind pedestrian walk areas. When a bike box is present, bikers are often allowed to turn on red, while drivers are not. That’s because the box improves bikers’ visibility. This increased visibility also helps prevent “right hook” collisions when a car turns red and a cyclists goes straight.
So far, cyclists on Scott St. seem to get the gist of the bike box. Before the box was stenciled in, city officials observed that 55% of cyclists waited in the green area. Now that the signage is clearer, we hope that even more bikers will take advantage of the first bike box in California.