Cincinnati roads safer for cyclists

As the first phase of a 2009 plan to make the city more bike-friendly is coming to an end of its first phase this year, innovative and much-needed changes to city roads and intersections are heading in the right direction.

City cyclists know the pain of sitting at a lengthy light with  no way to trigger the sensors. Some resort to pressing the pedestrian crossing buttons. Five intersections, MLK Jr. Avenue and Woodside, Pullan at Hamilton, Madison at Woodburn, Millsbrae and Woodland at Madison, now have markings painted on the roads to notify bikers where to put their bikes to trip sensors that change lights. A sixth, Knowlton at Hamilton, is being installed after construction at the intersection finishes.

Melissa McVay, a planner at the city’s department of transportation and engineering, worked with Queen City Bikes and Mobo Bicycle Co-op to choose sensor locations. The sensors were reworked to detect the weight of most bikes, though bikes made out of carbon or aluminum may not be heavy enough. Mcvay will continue to research to accommodate all cyclists and decide other intersections at which to add the markings.

“Queen City Bikes and the Mobo were critical in our plan to implement these markings,” McVay says.

Other safety measures include signs that notify drivers that they must pass bikers by changing lanes, which will be located mostly in lengthy corridors of “shared lanes,” which include Spring Grove Avenue and Central Parkway. These signs also help police officers enforce laws that protect cyclists, by giving drivers fair warning of the rules of driving on shared roads. Louisville is the only other city in the region McVay knows of that is installing these kinds of signs

“We’ve seen some other cities doing this, but there isn’t much like this being done in the Midwest,” McVay says.

Beechmont Avenue along the Mt. Washington Business District will boast the first buffered bike lane, or a wider bike line for protection on the busy street. Also, new “Sharrows,” which are pavement markings to notify drivers of bikers, are being painted on Jefferson and Ludlow avenues in Clifton, since there is not room to create separate bike lanes.

New phases of the plan continue through 2025

By Evan Wallis
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