City hopes 'bike boxes' make intersections safer for cyclists

The City of Edmonton is hoping so-called bike boxes will make intersections safer for cars and cyclists.
The city unveiled its first 'bike box' at 116th Street and 87th Avenue Thursday. (CBC)

The City of Edmonton is hoping so-called bike boxes will make intersections safer for cars and cyclists.

"Bike boxes make intersections better for everyone," says city transportation engineer Andrew Siggelkow. "It allows drivers and cyclists to act predictably at intersections and be aware of one another, helping them share the road."

The city unveiled its first box Thursday at the southside intersection of 116th Street and 87th Avenue.

A green square with a bike symbol provides a space at the front of a traffic lane where cyclists can wait for a light change and clear the intersection ahead of vehicles.

The boxes make cyclists more visible and less likely to be sideswiped or cut-off, said Siggelkow.

They are also less likely to get stuck trying to get around a right-turning vehicle, so conditions are more comfortable for drivers as well, he said.

The city has launched an education campaign around the bike box, including an instructional video available online.

The boxes are part of an effort to encourage people to consider cycling as a transportation alternative.