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Raised driveways? More baloney!

A monumental German study (Sicherung von Radfahrern an Städlichen Knotenpunkten, by the research institute of the German transport ministry, 1992) shows that raised driveways reduce the risk on sidepaths of car-bike collisions at driveway entrances from five times to only twice that of riding in the street. Clearly, raised driveways are a Good Idea, at least within the context of sidepath safety.

A promise was made of raised driveways for the Vassar Street project:

The driveway will rise to meet the elevation of the cycle track. Based on City guidelines, this will be a steep incline, where motorists must slow down. Motorists are required to yield to cyclists just as they yield to pedestrians at sidewalk/driveway junctions.

The steep ramp from the street onto the driveway will force motorists to slow down significantly when turning from Vassar Street onto a driveway.

Paul Smith, of Rizzo Associates,
consultant to the Vassar Street project,
in a defense of the project,
May 2002

The reality, February 20, 2004. The lightly-used driveways on the far side
of Vassar Street are raised. The big double driveway at Building 39 is at street level.

DSCF0072bldg39.jpg (40911 bytes)

There's wide turning radius for vehicles entering this major driveway, too. Best advice for bicyclists is to avoid getting on the right side of a vehicle that is turning or might turn. That means riding in the street, in line with the traffic, and never passing motor vehicles on the right.

Motorists, remember that, as you turn into the driveway, you have to look back over your right shoulder for bicyclists. They travel much faster than pedestrians, so it isn't enough just to glance quickly at the corner. And drive slowly, because while you're looking back, the situation may change ahead of you. If you are driving a vehicle which has no windows behind the front seat, you can't look back, so enter very slowly to give bicyclists the opportunity to avoid your vehicle.

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