Two kinds of the boxes are being painted at four locations on Capitol Boulevard to increase safety for bicyclists.
The boxes will be installed in the next few weeks at Myrtle, River, Idaho and Bannock streets.
The first kind of box – installed recently at Capitol and Myrtle – puts riders at the head of stopped traffic to prevent the “right hook” accident where right-turning autos hit cyclists going straight. Once the signal turns green, the cyclists enter the intersection first, followed by the autos, which can go straight or turn right. Motorists are no longer allowed to make right turns on red lights.
The second box – to be installed at River, Idaho and Bannock – will help cyclists making left turns. Instead of merging across motorized traffic to be in position for a left turn, the cyclist rides into the intersection and stops in the bike box on the far side, positioned in front of cross-street traffic. Once the green light comes for cross street users, the cyclist enters the intersection in front of the motorized traffic, again reducing potential conflict.
From 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, employees from the Ada County Highway District will be on Capitol Boulevard handing out water bottles loaded with brochures explaining how the boxes work.
The boxes debuted in spring 2014 as part of the buffered bike lane pilot project on Capitol, Main and Idaho streets but were removed at the end of the experiment. The new, permanent boxes complement the buffered bike lane installed on Capitol earlier this year.
Bike boxes have been used extensively in Portland, Ore., Chicago and New York City to reduce car-bike collisions. The concept puts the cyclist in high visibility locations at intersections, where direction changes can create hazards.