Protected bicycle lanes use physical dividers to separate people bicycling from people driving and walking. These exclusive bicycle lanes combine the user experience of a trail with the on-street design of a traditional bicycle lane. A variety of dividers can be used to separate people bicycling from people driving, including concrete curbs, planters, posts, or even parked cars.
An increasing number of residents are clamoring for more protected bike lanes. In a survey conducted by the Path to Platinum initiative in fall 2016, 88% of the 933 respondents overwhelmingly desired bicycling improvements with more separation from motor vehicles.
Separated bicycle lanes are typically best suited for streets with higher motor vehicle traffic, higher speeds, and more on-street parking and/or motor vehicle lanes than may be needed.
Benefits of Protected Bike Lanes:
- Bicycling increases: Cities that have added protected bicycle lanes have experienced an average increase of 75% in bicycling on those routes in the first year alone.
- Bicycling becomes more comfortable: Studies show that protected bicycle lanes appeal to seven times more people than conventional bicycle lanes. Plus, they have been shown to reduce riding on sidewalks by 56%.
- The street is safer for everyone: Because they shorten crossing distances, control turning conflicts and reduce traffic weaving, protected bicycle lanes in New York City resulted in a 56% reduction in injuries to all street users, including a 57% reduction in injuries to people on bicycles and a 29% reduction in injuries to people walking. Protected bicycle lanes are also known to have no effect travel times for auto traffic. In Chicago, rush hour travel times in both directions of protected bicycle lanes actually improved.
- The economy grows: In Salt Lake City, replacing parking with protected bicycle lanes increased retail sales by 8.8% over the first six months.
Watch the video below to learn more about the rise of protected bike lanes.