We recently looked at some crossings on the Cap Metro Red Line Metro Rail with the intent of determining which ones needed work to make them safe for cyclists. When rails cross perpendicular (at a right angle, square) to the line of travel it is relatively easy for a cyclist to traverse them safely. However, as the angle begins to change then a cyclist crossing the tracks has to begin to take some precautions. This is particularly true when the tracks and road are wet. Turns out the Metro Rail line is a good case study with some widely varying angles. There are two ways to deal with angled crossing; the first is to have the cyclist veer into traffic before or after squaring up to make the crossing, while the second is to add pavement to the side of the crossing so the rider can make the crossing square to the tracks but use the pavement to either set up the crossing or to recover after the crossing depending on the angle. I know that is confusing. Take a look at the diagram and you can see that a simple addition of pavement makes the crossing much safer for the bike rider and less harrowing for the motorists as well.
The two photos show Rosewood Avenue as it is crossed by Metro Rail. Steep angle suggesting that a bike rider may want to swerve out into traffic to cross back to the right. It would be easy to place a small patch of pavement on the right side after the tracks so a rider could turn to the right, cross the track and still have pavement to turn back into the roadway. This is a route that many children take to get to the parks in the area. (Thanks to Christopher Stanton for pointing out this crossing.) Photos courtesy of Google Maps.