Sharrow-Streetcar-Seattle

Are cyclist mishaps inevitable when streetcar tracks are present?

Clang! Clang! Clang!

I’m fortunate to live in a community that supports public transit. Thanks to biking, walking and transit, I don’t have to drive a car very often. And that’s a good thing since Seattle is plagued by traffic congestion.

As a bike rider on Seattle’s streets, I’m less enamored with the streetcar system that is developing. Negotiating the tracks can be hazardous for a cyclist. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was dumped on the street as she tried to maneuver across the tracks on her bike. She escaped with bruises and scraped knees. Others haven’t been so lucky.

If your biking destination follows a streetcar route like the one pictured above, you might consider riding parallel streets to avoid the tracks or pay the fare and put your bike aboard the streetcar. Expect your travel time to increase if you ride the streetcar.

But you shouldn’t have to. Biking and transit are proven options to driving on our congested urban streets. As the streetcar system expands, we need to integrate it into our streetscape in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the safety of bicyclists.

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