Behind the bike boxes?

The first on-street bike box in Kelowna has been installed at the intersection of Richter and Sutherland. 

The bike box is indicated by a square green area and is used at intersections to designate a space for cyclists to wait at red lights and safely clear the intersection ahead of cars.

The intersection of Richter and Sutherland was outfitted with the new marking last week, and a second intersection at Bernard and Richter is expected to be completed this fall. 

“It might take people some time to learn about them and adjust to the new arrangement, but we want people to ‘get behind the box’ and help make our streets safer for cyclists and other roadway users” said Mahesh Tripathi, Traffic Engineering Technician.

The new bike boxes will change how drivers and cyclists navigate through the intersection at Richter and Sutherland Avenue. Motorists must stop behind the green bike box on red lights. Right turns on red will not be permitted at these intersections. Cyclists will move into the green bike box on a red light, providing riders with a safer position to turn left.

When the light turns green, motorists and cyclists may move through the intersection as usual, with cyclists going first. Motorists turning right on a green will follow regular traffic rules by signaling and watching for cyclists to the right, the same as with any curb-side bike lane.

Along with bike boxes, new technology is being tested that detects not only vehicles, but cyclists as well.

“Our existing video detection system is only programmed to detect vehicles waiting at a red light,” says Atif Khan, Traffic Signals & Systems Supervisor. “We are testing new software that will also detect cyclists waiting at the intersection. This technology paired with the green bike boxes will make it a lot more convenient, faster and safer for cyclists to travel.”

"If everyone is predictable and abides by traffic rules, it significantly reduces the risk of an accident," says Mahesh Tripathi. "We're going to see more residents taking to the streets by bicycle as well as more pedestrians as our city and region continues to grow. When everyone is aware of others, we all make it to and from our destinations safely.”

For more information on cycling initiatives in the Central Okanagan, visit this website.

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