Apr 18, 2024 - News

Waukee tells cyclists to "walk your bike" at busy roundabout

a crosswalk with "walk your bike" sign in front of it

A crosswalk at the Warrior Lane roundabout. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Waukee city staff recently installed new "walk your bike" signs along a busy roundabout to reduce pedestrian accidents near Waukee Middle School.

Why it matters: Pedestrian safety is a growing worry as the metro's suburbs grow and get busier.

State of play: In the last 12 months, drivers hit two middle school-aged students riding their bikes on Warrior Lane roundabout crosswalks, Rudy Koester, Waukee's public works director, tells Axios.

  • Both accidents resulted in non-serious injuries.

Driving the news: The new signs were installed this month along with additional signage reminding drivers to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.

Zoom in: Following the two accidents, city staff video recorded the roundabout to determine what could be improved.

  • They discovered that students on bikes were not slowing down near the crosswalks and there wasn't enough time for drivers to respond, Koester says.

What they're saying: Improved street markings, similar to Dutch roundabouts, could better signal who has the right of way and make it more obvious that cyclists have priority, says Alec Davis, founder of Momentum DSM.

  • Crosswalks could be further from the roundabout so cars approach head on, rather than from the side, giving more visibility to pedestrians.
  • Sharper curvature would slow traffic, Davis says.

Between the lines: The Warrior Lane roundabout helped slow down traffic, resulting in less serious injuries for the two students, Koester says.

The big picture: As Waukee and the school district grows, there will be more middle school pedestrians and high school drivers, Koester says.

  • In 2022, an estimated 8,300 vehicles used the roundabout daily and that's likely higher now, he says.
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