Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on November 13th, 2013 at 9:57 am
The pavement marking to the right, which is supposed to tell people where to place the wheels of their bike to trigger a green light, is illegible to about half of Portland bikers, a new study (PDF) finds.
Even worse: Those figures don’t include many people who rarely ride, suggesting that interminable red lights are a particular burden on new bike riders.
Stefan Bussey, a PSU civil engineering student who conducted the survey, said he came up with the idea when he noticed that people ahead of him at the long Seven Corners traffic signals on Southeast Division would regularly stop a few feet away from the traffic signal stencil.
“It would happen three or four times a week,” Bussey said.
Bussey’s research confirmed it: even in Portland, about 55 percent of bicycle riders surveyed don’t know the meaning of the pavement marking.
of bike riders who thought it meant “bikes allowed.”
Photo from Bussey, graph by BikePortland)
Portlanders seem to be doing better than Floridians. A study of 68 Tallahassee residents last year found that zero of them knew what the above stencil, which is a national standard road marking, means.
The Portland findings are based on analysis of 302 hours of video footage and a combination of 227 in-person and online surveys. Of the survey respondents, 65 percent said they ride a bicycle at least three times a week.
More than a third of those said they’d wait for a traffic light by standing within 10 feet of the curb, even at an intersection with a marked bike detector near the middle of the street. Survey data also suggested those riders were motivated by a desire to stay “out of the way” of traffic, Bussey said — suggesting that red lights are a particular burden to less experienced riders.