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Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 8, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Seattle bike lanes: More safety measures needed, as in European cities

The Second Avenue bike lane was designed to improve safety and make bicyclists feel comfortable riding downtown. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

While the improvements to the bike path along Second Avenue are a step in the right direction, urban riding will never become mainstream as long as we harbor the misguided notion that flimsy barricades and a stripe of paint will provide proper protection from motor vehicles [“Revised 2nd Avenue bike lane signals change for drivers, riders,” Local News, Sept. 7].

Instead of Chicago, we should be looking to European cities, including Amsterdam and Munich, for examples of how it should be done.

Bicyclists in Amsterdam must obey signals similar to those on the upgraded Second Avenue path, but, instead of pavement, share a broad sidewalk marked with pedestrian and bicycle lanes. Those sidewalks are separated from vehicles by concrete curbs. In sections of Munich, a similar arrangement is taken one step farther, with the addition of rows of trees to separate the cyclists from vehicles.

Finally, bicyclists must be made to understand that traffic laws — including the new signals — apply to them, too, and that they do not enjoy absolute, total right of way, as some of the more aggressive cyclists seem to think.

Carl Dombek, Des Moines

Comments | More in bicycling | Topics: Amsterdam, Berlin, bicycles

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