Trail Road Crossing Safety

This was a response to Scott on the atlbike.org forums: http://atlbike.org/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&p=57489#57489

I think the primary key to safe intersections is visibility.
I’ve done a significant amount of work to try and improve the safety of the intersections we use frequently. With fairly dramatic results.
http://atlbike.org/blog/20140728/trail-road-intersections-trimming-july-2014-part-1/

Most of us try to slow to a safe speed and look for cars; we are using your “rolling” method.
Also, I don’t like to make cars stop, if I don’t have too. So, I will usually wait for traffic to clear, rather than pushing a button.
Having said that, the intersection that seems to work the best (IMO) is the ONLY trail intersection with a vehicle STOP. That is in Hiram intersection on Depot Rd (the caboose).
The relatively new crossing lights at Rosedale Rd is a good re-design of an inherited design problem. These flashing lights are VERY effective.

Sadly, many riders seem to like the roll of the dice and shoot through intersections.
Forrest and I track the incidents we’ve seen: Vehicles:6, Triathletes:0
Again, sadly for some reason, it appears that bikes equipped with aerobars are the problem ( it couldn’t be the rider, right? ).
The exception, now is the bike ridden by Mr Perkins, it was a standard drop bar road bike ( one reason I wanted to see a picture of the bike ).
The stat is now, sadly: Vehicles:7, cyclists:0. Morbid as some may find this, it is the reality of our situation as cyclists. We never win, we strive to break-even in the world of bike vs. vehicles.

My thoughts:
1) a reduced signed/posted vehicle speed limit at all trail crossings ( like a school zone ).
2) a vehicle STOP or light (like Rosedale) at ALL trail crossing where visibility or vehicle speed can’t be effectively managed.
3) Bike speed zones at trail heads and crossings.
4) Special hazardous zone markings painted ON the trail where appropriate.
5) a safety assessment for each crossing and visibility improvement projects where required.

Using the old reliable 80/20 rule, these actions will likely fix 80% of the incidents related to road crossings, also hopefully reducing the severity of accidents that do occur. Of course people are creative and some will view this as an enhanced opportunity to blow-thru intersections. Some folks just aren’t wired right, that can’t be helped, ticketing and peer pressure can be an effective cure within the posted and marked areas.

Trail-Road Intersections Trimming July 2014, part 1

Visibility at trail-road intersections is an important issue on the Silver Comet Trail. Cars need to see cyclists and of course, the cyclists need to see cars at trail-road intersections. Paulding County has several intersections that require regular trimming. I’ve been doing this for the last three years. The effects of trimming shrubbery and trees can have a dramatic effect on visibility and safety at road crossings.

Note: click images for larger view.

Eisley-Stamper Road: view North

Before:
Only 30-40 ft from the intersection and the north view of the road is completely obscured by the shrubbery.

Eisley-Stamper

Eisley-Stamper view north, before.

After trimming:
Cyclists have a clear view of the road to the North. This allows them to focus their attention on the more hazardous south view which has an adjacent cross-street (Rosedale Rd) with turning traffic. No, my truck wasn’t moved between photos; before, it was completely hidden from view.

Eisley-Stamper view north, after trimming.

Eisley-Stamper view north, after trimming.

Wyandotte Road: view South

Was a major problem for visibility of vehicles. Ground cover had grown to a height which completely hid the view of approaching vehicles.
Before: The road is completely obscured from view.

Wyandotte Rd: view South.

Wyandotte Rd: view South, before.

After trimming: A dramatic improvement, the road is clearly visible.

Wyandotte Rd: view South, after.

Wyandotte Rd: view South, after.

After trimming: view approaching intersection.
Now, after trimming, the south road is completely visible to approaching cyclists.

Wyandotte Rd: view South, after, approaching intersection.

Wyandotte Rd: view South, after, approaching intersection.

Both access roads into the Paulding Waste Water Treatment Plant were also trimmed.

new Silver Comet Trail RxR Crossings

I’m pleased to report that the four Silver Comet Trail railroad crossing in Polk County have been rebuilt.
I did a drive-by on 3 of the the 4 crossing and they were completed. Likely that the fourth crossing is done, or soon to be done also.
The less than good news is that wood was used again, rather than a improved, more durable material. However, these will be good for a few years until a better, safer plan can be implemented.
Reminder: the Old Cedartown crossing is still very severe angle and dangerous.

Old Cedartown Rd Crossing
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Bethlehem Rd Crossing
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Trail Overhanging Obstacles

Lots of overhanging obstacles on the trail this year.

No, pine trees aren’t suppose to be growing side-ways.
Riders were having to duck under the low hanging branches.
2012-06-29 16.17.45

Had the chainsaw yesterday, so I dropped it across the trail, then cut it up and removed it.

2012-06-29 16.25.59

Tornado damage on the Silver Comet Trail

Shot a short video late this afternoon of the tornado damage on the Silver Comet Trail from last weeks storms.  I watched this same tornado go over our house on the NOAA RADAR.  Thank goodness it didn’t touch down.

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