Even for the most careful drivers and cyclists, intersections can be dangerous. From a driver's perspective, sneaky bicyclists always seem to be creeping up in that split second between checking the blind spot and starting to turn. From a cyclist's perspective, intersections are basically death traps, where right-turning drivers threaten collisions at any moment.
Add in both drivers and cyclists who turn without signaling, speed to catch the light or ignore it all together, and it's no wonder more people don't choose to bike in urban traffic.
As part of the second annual design and public policy contest held by George Mason University, designer Nick Falbo put together the above video showing how intersections could be better designed to improve the relationship between cyclists and drivers. Falbo's ideas draw liberally from previous cycle path designs in the Netherlands, but the details laid out in the video give a lot of food for thought. Falbo's design adds a parking lane to the Dutch design, though whether the already cramped streets in many urban centers can handle the loss of lane way isn't so clear.
By keeping bicyclists and cars physically separated, and using infrastructure to put cars and bikes in each others' sight-lines, the design certainly would make biking downtown less scary. Now if only there were an engineering approach that would make people follow the rules of the road.