I've been a biker ever since my college days. I've used a bike to commute through Michigan (and northern Japanese) winters, hot times in Georgia and up steep residential streets in Hawai'i. But I've never biked in a place as bike-friendly as Portland, Oregon. I've only spent a few days there, but damn if that city doesn't put a premium on encouraging two-wheeled, human-powered transportation.

Still, whenever bikes and cars share the road, accidents are likely - and bikers almost always suffer for it. Following six bicycle deaths on city roads last year, new "bike boxes" will be added to 14 busy Portland intersections, according to The Oregonian. These boxes are common in Europe, but Portland is likely to be the first place in the U.S. to use them. The blue-painted areas are intended to give bikers a place to rest in front of automobiles at traffic lights and prevent accidents due to "right hooks" (where cars turning right hit a biker using the right side of the road). Cars will also be prevented from making right turns on red. The boxes make a lot of sense when bike are able to get to the bike box when the light is red, but they'll still need to be extra careful once traffic is moving.

[Source: Andy Dworkin / The Oregonian via Worldchanging]

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