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Bike boxes to protect cyclists in Blacksburg stirs up mixed reactions

Some drivers like the idea while others say pump the brakes

Blacksburg will be painting new roadway markings to prevent bicycle crashes.
Blacksburg will be painting new roadway markings to prevent bicycle crashes.

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Blacksburg is getting ready to paint some new roadway markings with the goal to prevent bike crashes, but this idea is getting some mixed reactions from the community.

Green bike boxes are coming to the Town of Blacksburg.

The idea is to create some space for cyclists to cross through intersections and avoid crashes.

“Bike boxes improve visibility for bicyclists and they help prevent conflicts,” Town of Blacksburg Comprehensive Planner Maeve Gould said. “Especially for vehicles turning right and cyclists moving through the intersection.”

According to the Blacksburg Police Department, there were three reported bicycle accidents in 2019 and two in 2020.

Cars will have to stop behind the bike box and wait for the traffic light signal to change before proceeding.

The boxes will be at the intersection of Prices Fork Road, Toms Creek Road and Stanger Street.

Town of Blacksburg Assistant Planning Director Kali Casper said biking lanes are not enough for the area because of the high volume of traffic.

According to data from April 2019, 21,000 cars cross the intersection daily and more than 300 people at the peak hour.

The project is getting some mixed reviews. Some drivers like the idea while others say pump the brakes.

“It’s promoting bicycling and having bicycles is very good for the environment,” Khidir Hilu, a Blacksburg resident, said. “It reduces pollution and I’m all for it. I think it’s a very positive thing.”

However, some comments on our 10 News Facebook page disagree.

One viewer writes ‘It’s a foolish idea’ and said ‘It’s dangerous’ for cyclists to cross multiple lanes of traffic in front of cars.

But Casper said it’s good news.

“It helps at a red light to group the cyclists,” she said. “If there is more than one they can all proceed through the intersection at the beginning of that. And it makes it less likely that there will be conflicts between the driver and the cyclists.”

Striping will start in the next two weeks but the project will be completed by the end of the year.


About the Author:

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.