Trail Ramblings: Could We See More “Daylighting”?

This past week we posted a link about how Narrow Lanes Save Lives. Here’s another article, this time from from titled “This Cheap Street Fix Saves Lives. Why Don’t More Cities Do It?” Here is explained a way some cities are finding to meet the demand for safer biking and walking. Daylighting is “a process that pays close attention to the schematics of the street where most crashes occur: the corners of crossings. The idea is that if intersections are clear of obstructions like parked cars — or “brighter,” to follow the expression — then drivers, pedestrians and cyclists would all be able to see one another better. Better sightlines, less likelihood of crashes, the formula goes.”

Here, planters serve as bollards.

Some of you may have noticed a few elements already in Lincoln that try to keep car traffic and parking from encroaching on the area around crosswalks and trail crossings. Bump-outs, bollards, plastic flex-posts and sometimes paint are increasingly being used in some areas to increase visibility. If you’ve ever ridden much in the street, or on trails that cross streets, then you know that motorists do not always see you. Actually, I try never to assume that they have. Part of the fault is driver habit. Some motorists are not used to looking for anything other than another car, and will look right through a cyclist to oncoming motor traffic. I believe motorists are not trained how to properly interact with cyclists or pedestrians. Many will not stop for either in a crosswalk, especially at speeds above 30 mph. This is another argument for narrower lanes, since traffic will usually be slower and motorists are forced to pay closer attention to their surroundings. Motorists tend to quickly conform to the actions of other drivers though, and if no one else is stopping, they don’t feel compelled to either. That’s what seems to be happening on the Jamaica North trail at the Old Cheney and Pioneer’s crossings among others.

Hopefully, the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon in the area of 48th and Huntington that I mentioned here last week will be heeded by motorists and make crossing streets safer and faster for cyclists and pedestrians. If it’s successful it may spread to other areas.