SafePace 100 Radar Sign Used to Promote Safe Riding on the Golden Gate Bridge

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On the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks, the newly installed Traffic Logix SafePace 100 signs provide an innovative speed advisories to bicyclists.

radar sign bicyclist safety

© Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, used with permission, www.goldengate.org

Traffic Logix SafePace 100 radar speed signs have recently been installed on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco as an innovative tool to encourage safer bicycling. This unique usage of the Your Speed Signs, typically used only for vehicle traffic, is now being replicated on other bridges to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a structure of splendor, photographed, gawked at, and traveled each day by thousands of people, many of them on foot or bicycles. The graceful suspension bridge has been declared one of the modern engineering wonders of the world and one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. It boasts six vehicle lanes, as well as two sidewalks that are used by pedestrian and bicycle traffic, subject to regulations based on times of day and week.

With a significant increase in bicycle crossings at the bridge in recent years, coupled with the rise in bike-related accidents, a Bicycle Safety Study, commissioned by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, was conducted in 2011 to analyze pedestrian and bicycle traffic on both the east and west sidewalks. The study showed a rise in bicycle related collisions between 2000, when there were 9 reported collisions, and 2009, when there were 23 reported collisions. Approximately 40% of these incidents were caused by speed. The study made several recommendations to improve safety, including using advisory signage to encourage bicyclists to ride at safe speeds.

After researching several alternatives, the staff at the Golden Gate Bridge decided to use the Traffic Logix SafePace 100 radar sign on the bridge sidewalks. The compact radar speed sign can display bicycle speed to cyclists as they approach it, reminding them to slow down and ride safely.

In December of 2011, the first SafePace 100 sign was installed on the north end of the west sidewalk with the static block letters Your Speed under an image of a bicycle. The goal of the sign is to be advisory in nature and assist bicyclists in monitoring and self-regulating their own speeds. The sign is programmed to charge off of the existing roadway lights at night to give them enough power to operate throughout the day. In February 2012, three more signs were purchased and placed at strategic locations on each of the bridge sidewalks.

The Safe Pace 100 sign is energy efficient, with a variety of power options and integrated power-efficient radar technology. A user-friendly software interface makes it easy to set sign parameters and includes an optional data-collection feature. The SafePace 100 speed signs are highly visible even in poor weather conditions and downloading data from the signs is simple and seamless.

The usage of the speed advisory signs on the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks presents unique challenges. The signs are generally used on streets and programmed to pick up data from vehicle lanes, which are wider than the bridge sidewalks. While the signs are angled to focus on bicycle traffic, they do occasionally show vehicle speeds, which can skew the sign data as well as confuse riders. To solve this problem, Traffic Logix is working with the Golden Gate Bridge staff to create a unique shield for the signs that will narrow the radar head so that it only picks up the speed of the passing bicycles.

Radar speed signs such as the SafePace 100 sign are effective in slowing traffic down, by returning driver or rider focus to their speeds, reminding them to slow down. While generally used for vehicle traffic, there has recently been a growing interest from several bridges to use them for bicyclists and pedestrians. The SafePace 100 sign is currently being installed on the walkway of the Manhattan Bridge in New York.

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Brett Ferrin
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