A bit of a head-scratcher.
If you look at the configuration (above) in the press release materials, you see a high-speed, two-lane road with a temporary, plastic barricade system:
In early 2016, ODOT introduced a new category of bicycle-specific safety device – the “Bicycle Channelizing Device. ” It is a lightweight plastic barrier system that guides cyclists along a pathway, keeping them from entering into active work areas or coming into contact with workers or equipment.It's an improvement on this, it's true:
|A plastic barricade is an improvement|
on these cinderlock footings (via BikePortland)
When I am out bicycling, and I encounter a work zone, my first thought is not "wow, gotta stay away from those bulldozers and back hoes." That's the obvious, easy part. Nope, the first thought is
Crap. Now the work zone is going to crowd me into the path of busy traffic, I don't have enough room, and I feel squeezed. I can't get enough separation from zooming cars. Crap, there are signs in the roadway. Now I have to watch for them and avoid an involuntary dismount. Crap. [insert stronger language]And what I see in that picture from ODOT at top is still the "crap" and squeezage, a barricade that pushes me too far to the left, too close to zooming cars, and with no out on the right. There's even an asphalt patch that might conceal a discontinuity in paving surface big enough for a wobble or even that involuntary dismount.
The barricade may keep me from "entering into active work areas," but that's not the main problem.
The main problem is the zooming car traffic on the left and the squeezing. As I see it, the barricade should be to the left.
It's the zooming car traffic from which I need protection, not the work zone that needs protection from me!
It seems like there's a partial misapprehension of the basic problem here.
this guidance on sidewalks and walking from Seattle. That arrangement offers separation from the work zone as well as separation from zooming cars, with the barricade line shifted to the car side. That's what I'm talking about.
If the work zone requires protection from travelers by car, by bike, and on foot, those of us on foot and on bike still need protection from swervy and zoomy travelers by car.
Anyway, that's a lot of wind-up for the ODOT release:
Media advisory: Ride a bike or walk through a work zone—see how it works first-handThis still looks like some weird false equivalence between distracted driving and "distracted walking and biking."
Have you ever ridden a bike through a work zone? Sound daunting? How does ODOT protect bicyclists and pedestrians in work zones? Come find out! Bring your GoPros! Show the unusual perspective of riding through a work zone on two wheels.
WHEN: Anytime 9a-2p Wednesday, May 18
WHERE: On a road in front of an ODOT building in Salem: 4040 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE, Salem, OR 97302
WHY: To draw attention to the serious issue of distracted traveling in Oregon work zones; to demonstrate the types of work zone safety techniques and equipment ODOT pilots to protect all travelers in work zones.
Work zone statistics
A work zone crash occurs in Oregon every 19 hours, on average.
During 2010-2014, Oregon averaged 477 work zone crashes each year.
During 2010-2014, Oregon averaged 13 serious injury crashes and 7 fatal crashes each year.
4 out of 5 people injured or killed in a work zone crash are drivers or passengers.
How serious, really, is "distracted traveling" by people on foot and on bike in a work zone?
The stats they cite are almost certainly all involving cars and failures by drivers, not problems with people walking or biking in a work zone.
All this remains a little baffling. Does it make sense to you? Can you explain it? And who is the target audience for the event? "Have you ever ridden a bike through a work zone? Sound daunting?" That's the rhetoric for some self-improvement seminar with fire-walking!
Clearly the audience here is not regular bike commuters, those who would be using the new work zone routing, and who contend regularly with work zones. Is it really for construction contractors? Or maybe to lure press who may not bicycle ever?
Even though the event is in Salem, it is possible that it is at least partially a response to the social media campaign #WorkZoneWTF, about which Bike Portland has written and around which the Portland BTA and Oregon Walks has organized some.
But if it is, it still doesn't seem like it all lines up. It is probably progress, but maybe it still needs some refinement.
If you go, and especially if you film it, make sure you attend to the experience of people walking and biking and less to any gee-whizzery from construction gadgetry and new-fangled plastic barricades.