news Tiburon Gets Marin’s First Bike Boxes

In partnership with the County of Marin and Caltrans, the Town of Tiburon is set to implement the county’s first “bike boxes.”  These features will be set up at the Blackfield and Greenwood Cove Drive approaches to Tiburon Boulevard. The improvements – which were funded through the Transportation Authority of Marin’s Safe Pathways to School Program – also include dashed green bike lanes (shown being striped above) through the intersections to make bicyclists’ movements more visible and predictable.

The improvements should be completed by the end of this week – but seem to be news to most Marin cyclists – which naturally leads to the question:

“What Are Bike Boxes?”


Image: Rich & Cheryl / Flickr

Bike boxes are a simple, inexpensive treatment that allow people riding bicycles to establish a visible, advanced position ahead of queuing traffic during a red light. The Bike Box designs typically employ green paint to increase visibility and make bicyclists’ movements more predictable. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), bike boxes provide the following benefits:

  • Increases visibility of bicyclists.
  • Reduces signal delay for bicyclists.
  • Groups bicyclists together to clear an intersection quickly, minimizing impediment to transit or other traffic.
  • Facilitates bicyclist left turn positioning at intersections during red signal indication.
  • Facilitates the transition from a right-side bike lane to a left-side bike lane during red signal indication.
  • Helps prevent becoming a victim of the ‘right-hook’ from turning vehicles at the start of the green indication.
  • Pedestrians also benefit from reduced vehicle encroachment into the crosswalk.

“How do I use a Bike Box?”


Image: City of Minneapolis

If you are driving and approach a bike box during a yellow or red light, keep it clear, even in the absence of people on bikes. When the light turns green, allow bicyclists to establish their balance and direction before proceeding. As always, look right before turning right across the bike lane.

If you are on a bike, access the bike box via the approaching bike lane during a yellow or red light only. Do not assume that motorists will allow you to establish an advanced position if the light is green and traffic is moving.

Want More Bike Boxes? We Do, Too!

Bike boxes are a relatively new intersection treatment. MCBC hopes that these are the first of many to be installed around Marin County. We hope you will join us in advocating for bike boxes as opportunities arise. The following applications are recommended by NACTO:

  • At signalized intersections with high volumes of bicycles and/or motor vehicles, especially those with frequent bicyclist left-turns and/or motorist right-turns.
  • Where there may be right or left-turning conflicts between bicyclists and motorists.
  • Where there is a desire to better accommodate left-turning bicycle traffic.
  • Where a left turn is required to follow a designated bike route, access a shared-use path, or when the bicycle lane moves to the left side of the street.
  • When the dominant motor vehicle traffic flows right and bicycle traffic continues through (such as a Y intersection or access ramp).

Bike boxes are among a growing toolbox of innovative safety improvements that will make bicycling safer and more appealing to people of all ages and abilities.


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