Folding Bikes Blog

Bike Commute: Tuscon Style

There’s an infrastructure first in Tuscon now, a bicycle crosswalk, or ‘crossbike’. Tuscon Velo recently explored this new piece of bike safety engineering.

Bike commute evolves Tuscon bike crosswalk

[Image via Tuscon Velo]

Of course we’ve all probably seen, at one point or another, a cyclist using the crosswalk to cross the road along with pedestrian traffic, but just about everywhere this is  frowned on, if not completely illegal. These cyclists are pointing out something we face when we bike commute – how do I cross this intersection made for cars safely? For new commuters taking the lane can be daunting, especially in large intersections obviously engineered with automobile traffic in mind.

Taking the lane is something we have available legally as cyclists because a bicycle is classified as a vehicle. Yet, many of us do not take the lane, for various reasons, and at the beginning of bike commuting it can be simply daunting. Tuscon, AZ has presented one possible solution to this intersection-navigation challenge. The bike cross walk.

Engineered and functional much the way any HAWK intersection is, this cross walk is a legitimate crossing for bikes as well. HAWK intersections – short for High intensity Activated crossWalK –  work in that they respond to a person, generally a pedestrian, pressing the button and only halt traffic in response to that input; these lights are not on timers for general traffic control. For this Tuscon intersection, now when the light is activated there is a green light for bikes to cross the road, as well as separate road markings in bright green shown in the image above.

In order for a cyclist to utilize this crossing as it is designed, the biker must mount the sidewalk in advance of the intersection in order to make the turn. Tuscon cyclists reviewing the new infrastructure are reporting that better signage is required from certain approaches.

As pedestrians and cyclists – what do you think? Is this the way to adjust crossings to keep bikes and pedestrians safer?

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