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Portland (Green) Bike Box!

At just about any public gathering I go these days, there's usually at least one person who will come up and give me an enthusiastic "Bike Box!", based upon our earlier, popular Streetfilm. In my heart I hoped there would one day be a sequel to Bike Box, and it all came together last week while in Portland at the World Car-free Conference. Earlier this year, Portland's Office of Transportation installed many high visibility bike boxes that are filled in lime green to help cyclist avoid right hook collisions. (Note: NYC now has a few green ones as well.)

What we were unprepared for was being stopped by random cyclists who wanted to lend their collective "Bike Box!" exclamations. So watch and see all the fun improv as it flows. Do you have Bike Boxes in your city? Want to be creative? Then upload a YouTube video and tag it "streetfilms" and we will feature it in our sidebar!

[intro music]

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:01] Hey folks, it’s time again, bike box.

All: [00:04] Bike box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:06] Bike box. Green bike box.

All: [00:08] Bike box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:09] I’m in Portland, Oregon, where they’ve filled in their bike boxes the delicious colour of Kermit green.

Speaker: [00:16] Bike box.

Speaker: [00:17] Bike box.

Speaker: [00:18] Hey, bike box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:19] We love bike boxes here in Portland. As you can see, bike boxes help people get right through the intersection.

Speaker: [00:25] Bike box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:26] Bike box is also known as what?

All: [00:28] Advance stop lines.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:31] Thanks guys. The bike boxes are designed to make the cyclists more visible to drivers. At red lights, just scoot on over in the box, you’ll be at the pole position and ready for the green. Drivers will know you are there.

Speaker: [00:42] Bike box.

Speaker: [00:43] Bike box.

Speaker: [00:44] Bike box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:45] The bike boxes here in Portland were deployed with a nifty marketing campaign telling drivers to get behind it.

Speaker: [00:51] Get behind the box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:52] Thank you. And just in case drivers need a reminder, it says Wait Here. Bike box. Bike box. Green bike box. And so in every bike box video you have to demonstrate, and here I come right here into the bike box, I slide on over, I’m going to be going straight through this intersection, so I’m going to wait right here till the driver sees me. We’re getting ready. I’m in the pole position and go. And here I go, right on the green line. And I always wave.

Speaker: [01:19] Bike box.

Speaker: [01:21] Bike box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [01:22] Hey, what’d we just ride through?

All: [01:24] Bike box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [01:25] Bike box.

Speaker: [01:26] To bike box or not to bike box, that’s the real question.

All: [01:30] Bike box.

Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [01:41] Bike box.

Speaker: [01:42] Bike box.


Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services

Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • http://www.dennishitchcox.com Dennis Hitchcox

    Bike Box! Most excellent.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/npGREENWAY Scott for npGREENWAY

    bIkE bOx!!

    Thanks for the long awaited sequel, Clarence!

    hmmmm.... to bike box, or not to bike box.... history will tell...

  • Ed Pino

    BIKE BOXes we need more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ken

    New Yorkers should be GREEN with envy! Great job, Clarence, but keep your left a little higher when throwing the right.

  • Benjamin

    Awesome. We need some of these in small town USA, like Athens.

    ps. Your first "Bike Box!" link is hosed.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/derrekwayne Derrek Wayne

    Right on. You're welcome. Nice to meet ya Nick.

  • Jim Frank

    I thought bike boxes were designed to help cyclists make a left turn at lights? In the video its expressly for going straight and to let the driver know you are there. So that would make it protect cyclists from cars making a right turn.

    In San Francisco the driver is supposed to turn into the bike lane at the intersection if they are making a right turn. The solid white line turns into a dotted white line about 50 feet before the intersection to indicate that drivers may merge into the bike lane to turn right.

    Do they have bike boxes stripped at intersections for people making a left turns?

  • http://mashumin.com MA Shumin

    BIKE BOX! we need that in the Big Apple

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/trorb Clarence Eckerson Jr.


    Bike Boxes are actually used a few different ways as I understand them. In NYC they are used to allow the cyclist to move to a better position to make the turn while stationed at a red light. I am sure there is also a visibility aspect to them.

    In Portland they are using them to make the cyclists more visible and avoid right hook turns into cyclists. At a red light - cyclists are supposed to position themselves in front of the car in the bike box, or at the very least move up closer to the light in the bike lane so that the driver sees you. Even when there is no red light, the green lanes are a sort of warning to drivers that cyclists are going to be coming thru there. This is why there is an additional green striping halfway thru the intersection.

    Do they work? I think the Portland DOT there is still collating data, but my experience with anecdotes from friends indicate their installation isn't hurting the situation and some told us they think they are helping in some degree. But one thing that is certain: I think a very small percentage of cyclists are actually using them from my observations and riding around. So how to get more people to use? Make fun bike box videos....

    Also, I think bike boxes are good for another reason no one seems to realize: cars frequently stop, sit, or get stuck in a crosswalk. ANYTHING additional (a stop bar, bike box, text on the asphalt asking drivers to stop BEFORE they get to the crosswalk) will just help keep drivers more in line and keep the crosswalks clear for pedestrians. Even if that is all the bike box helps achieve, I think it is a good thing.

  • http://www.asmithphotography.com Angela

    I live in Portland and it's great to finally take back the streets. Bikes are here to stay and cars have to learn we have a right to the streets too.

  • olen

    White box!

  • billie

    i like the color green in the bike box ,it should be nation wide,as a reminder to drivers I hardly bike but i still like it.
    great idea

  • ChaCha

    We just got some in the last couple of months in Seattle. So excited, my friend that works for SDOT told me he never knew how to turn left from the bike lane, which I was intimidated by as well. Knowing that someone that has been cycling longer than I have still had some confusion makes the bike boxes seem most appropriate!

  • theo dies

    i love these but 1/2 the time i still have to yell at drivers who almost crush me cause i'm going straight while they're turning right. i hope they tell people about green boxes when you get your license.

  • http://www.outsourcingtypingservices.com/ Snehal Joshi

    I love bike boxes here in Portland. Bike
    boxes help people get right through the intersection

  • http://www.transcriptionservicesindia.com/ Champak Pol

    Bike boxes are designed to make the cyclists more visible to drivers. At red lights, just scoot on over in the box.

  • PigMan

    We just had some put in Louisville KY. I bet that places like this that are less bike savvy that Portland/Seattle may see some friction with bikes pulling up into the boxes ahead of the cars. I do see them as a much safer alternative for bikes taking left hand turns. Much more visibility that in you were just in the line of cars.