Protected Bike Lanes Ride Wave of Popularity
Protected bike lane, cycle track, Green Lane, low-stress bike lane – whatever your preferred nomenclature, cities in the U.S. have been implementing these on public streets at impressive rates.
No idea what I’m talking about?
Picture this: a bike lane that uses physical dividers to separate the bike lane from automobile traffic and sidewalks. These physical barriers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials, level of permanence and protection. Everything from striped buffers painted on the street to elegant planter boxes are being used to create a physical barrier.
A gleeful reaction to the wave delineator at the Places for Bikes conference.
According to People for Bikes, the number of protected bike lanes in the U.S. has doubled every year since 2009. A survey that the organization released in May of 2016 reported that nearly 300 protected bike lanes have been implemented in cities across the country and over 2/3 of those since 2011. Why are cities doing this?
The benefits to public health and local economic growth of people using bicycles for transportation is well documented. Simply type “economic benefits of bicycle infrastructure” into your favorite search engine and you’ll find studies compiled by everyone from AARP to business trade groups that highlight tangible and measurable economic benefits. But, it’s not all about the mighty dollar.
More bicycle infrastructure, such as protected lanes, equals more cyclists.
When bicycle infrastructure makes riders feel safer and less stressed, more people ride. People for Bikes reports in this infographic that protected bike lanes boosted bike counts by a whopping 75%. That means less bicycles on sidewalks (pedestrians rejoice!) and people driving cars are more at ease knowing the folks on bikes will likely stay in their lane.
Creating streets that are safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities of bicycle riders is critical for urban mobility. Thanks to the National Association of City Transportation officials (NACTO) cities now have a defined set of criteria to reference when designing streets to this end. The criteria places top priority on safety, comfort and equity and we wholeheartedly agree with these aims.
So, when is Bike Fixation going to provide a solution for protected bike lanes? We’re glad you asked!
In the coming weeks, Bike Fixation will be releasing the Wave Delineator. This product is ideal for temporary pop-up bike lanes when communities want to create a demonstration protected lane or direct bike traffic during day or week-long events. Despite the proven efficacy of permanent protected bike lanes, many cities are still hesitant to commit to a permanent solution. A temporary pilot demonstration protected bike lane is the ideal way to build political will at City Hall and amongst the local motorist population.
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