October 10, 2013 - 4:19 PM
KELOWNA - You can no longer make a right had turn on a red light at Richter and Sutherland. WHAT!
As of right now, the traffic flow in that intersection has changed to take the safety of cyclists into account.
It’s the first bike box in Kelowna, although they are used in other cities like Vancouver, Surrey, Edmonton and Ottawa.
The bike boxes are used in intersection to give people on bicycles a place to wait for the red light without getting run over by a vehicle turning right. The distinctive green paint on the outside lane and in the crosswalk alerts drivers to the change in the rules. The intersection of Bernard and Richter will be getting a bike box in the next few weeks.
“It might take people some time to learn about them and adjust to the new arrangement,” City of Kelowna traffic engineering technician Mahesh Tripathi says. “We want people to ‘get behind the box’ and make our streets safe for cyclists.”
Drivers must now stop behind the green bike box and they can’t turn right on the red. When the light turns green, the cyclist goes first and then the motorist can turn right.
The whole point of the exercise is to reduce the number of crashes involving cyclists.
"If everyone is predicable and abides by the traffic rules, it significantly reduces the risk of an accident," Tripathi says, adding it’s a big change for drivers, but he doesn’t expect any conflicts.
There will be a delay and a small inconvenience for drivers.
“This intersection is closer to the downtown," Tripathi says. "There are a lot of pedestrians and cyclists already. I think they will respect the rights of others.”
The City will be monitoring the intersection to see how it goes and staff will be getting feedback from both drivers and cyclists.
The traffic people are also testing a new technology that will detect someone on a bike when they pull up to the intersection. The cameras on the traffic lights right now only see vehicles.
“We are testing softward that will detect cyclists waiting at the intersections,” traffic signals and systems supervisor Atif Khan says.
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Video Credit: City of Edmonton
Get Behind It - the Bike Box
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013