Analyzing bike crashes

A recent story on WCAI radio claimed that there were over 65 bicycle crashes in town this year through September and that there has been a 25 percent increase in crashes over the past five years. The Bicycle Committee requests crash data from the Provincetown Police Department on a calendar year basis, so we can’t yet verify this. I’ve reached out to the committee’s police liaison to find out what numbers were provided to the reporter.

Here’s the data we do have:bicycle-committee-crashes-2013-2015-001

If the 65 crash number for 2016 is accurate, that’s a whopping 88 percent increase from last year.

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MassDOT gets Copenhagenized*

MassDOT Separated Bike Lane Guide
MassDOT Separated Bike Lane Guide (web site)

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) recently released a forward-looking design guide for bike infrastructure. It’s really a big deal, since MassDOT is in charge of lots of roads and intersections all over the state that have pretty meagre bike provisions.

Here in Provincetown, the biggest opportunity to apply the new guidelines are at the three crossings of Route 6, a 50-mph highway with one signalized crossing and two completely cross-your-fingers and run intersections. When Route 6 was cut through town in the 1950s, is was laid out as a 4-lane highway with a wide median. And little has changed since then. Even the single traffic light has no bicycle detector loop, so it’s easy to get stranded in the intersection at a red light (Note: Our intrepid deputy director of public works managed to include a bicycle detector in the upcoming Conwell St. Bicycle Improvements Project).

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Toolbox: Sharrows

Courtesy of Bikeyface.com
Courtesy of Bikeyface.com

Sharrows (formally, “shared-lane markings”) are on-street pavement markings that are intended to remind people in cars to expect people on bikes on a street. They help to indicate bike routes, and they are useful to help people on bikes position themselves in the road and encourage them to “take the lane.”

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“Share the Road” is meaningless

I’ve often felt that the “share the road” message has done little to make roads any safer for anyone. So it was heartening to read of a new study from North Carolina State University that looked at whether people actually understand what those signs mean.

May use full lane and Share the road signs
Courtesy of biekde.org

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Revisiting the two-way sharrows

Standard MUTCD sharrow
Standard MUTCD sharrow

Sharrows (also known as “shared lane markings”) are on-street pavement markings that are intended to remind people in cars to expect people on bikes on a street. They help to indicate bike routes, and they are useful to help people on bikes position themselves in the road.

Commercial Street, the main drag through town, is one-way for cars and two-way for bikes. It’s very narrow (about 22 feet, and narrower in places), has a narrow sidewalk of about 36″ on one side, with a parking lane next to the sidewalk for most of the street. The speed limit is typically signed 15 MPH.

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