Many European cities use colored markings at bicycle/motor vehicle crossings to reduce conflicts. To determine whether such colored markings help improve safety at American bicycle/motor vehicle crossings, the City of Portland, Oregon studied the use of blue pavement markings and a novel signing system to delineate selected conflict areas. The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC), under contract to the Federal Highway Administration, analyzed the project data. From 1997 to 1999, Portland marked 10 conflict areas with paint and blue thermoplastic and an accompanying "Yield to Bikes" sign. All of the sites had a high level of bicyclist and motorist interaction, as well as a history of complaints. The crossings were all locations where the bicyclist travels straight and the motorist crosses the bicycle lane to exit a roadway (such as an off-ramp situation), enters a right-turn lane, or merges onto a street from a ramp. The study used videotape analysis and found most behavior changes to be positive. Significantly more motorists yielded to bicyclists and slowed or stopped before entering the blue pavement area, and more bicyclists followed the colored bike-lane path. However, the blue pavement also resulted in fewer bicyclists turning their heads to scan for traffic or using hand signals, perhaps signifying an increased comfort level. The overwhelming majority of bicyclists and close to the majority of motorists surveyed felt that the blue areas enhanced safety. Colored pavement and signing should continue to be used and evaluated in bicycle/motor vehicle conflict areas.

  • Record URL:
  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR): Carol Tan Esse, HRDS
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Highway Safety Research Center
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27599

    Federal Highway Administration

    Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, 6300 Georgetown Pike
    McLean, VA  United States  22101
  • Authors:
    • Hunter, W W
    • Harkey, D L
    • Stewart, J R
    • Birk, M L
  • Publication Date: 2000-8


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 33 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00808853
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-RD-00-150,, Final Report
  • Files: NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Apr 3 2001 12:00AM