Seattle's new bike plan to avoid accidents

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

SEATTLE —

Seattle unveiled a new bike plan designed to improve safety and boost ridership over the next 20 years.

There were 375 bike collisions in the city last year. Planners want to cut that number in half by adding 100 miles of cycle tracks. They are bike lanes with very narrow barriers or curbs to separate the bikes from regular traffic.

One of them would go along Second Avenue downtown where they were four collisions reported near Cherry Street in 2011.

There was only one other intersection in the city with that many collisions. It was at Boylston and East Pine Street.

Planning and Design Manager Kevin O'Neill said he's heard lots of comments from bicyclists who use Second Avenue that they don't feel safe because of cars crossing it to make turns.

The city would also paint areas near intersections where bicyclists would have designated spaces to wait before making turns.

Two hundred miles of residential streets would be turned into neighborhood greenways where bicyclists would encounter lower speeds and traffic volumes.

O'Neill said, "That's another way of having bikes kind of away from busier arterials where there wouldn't be as many conflicts."

By improving safety, the city hopes to triple bike ridership. The Cascade Bicycle Club has done surveys that show 45 percent of residents don't want to ride bikes because they don't feel safe riding them in traffic.