I was in the middle of making a video professing my love of a new safe, separated bike lane that was installed recently on my commute when I ran into a fellow cyclist who offered a rather different opinion.
Jane says she’s happy the city installed the lanes and feels safe while riding them, but she was a bit more realistic than I was in her assessment of the merits.
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So I thought I’d offer both perspectives to show the potential of new bike infrastructure, but also remind us how far most North American cities have to go before we really understand bike friendliness.
Watch the video about how a proper bike lane makes your life better for full details:
- 0:36 – Why this street is a big deal to me.
- 2:10 – What I like about this bike lane.
- 4:41 – Meet Jane, who lives off this street and has a slightly different opinion of this bike lane.
What are the benefits of bike lanes?
- Safety increases when everyone knows their place: Bicycle lanes clarify where everyone should be and improve traffic flow. They’re like a demilitarized zone in the way they separate the factions: cars, bikes, and pedestrians.
- Bike lanes reduce automobile congestion: When commuters switch from driving to biking, there’s less cars on the road which reduces traffic congestion.
- Bike lanes are a traffic calming tool: Just like speed bumps and narrowly designed streets, bike lanes similarly narrow the road and forces motorists to ease up on speeding.
- Bicycles are better for the environment: Bicycling, just like walking, produces no significant carbon emissions.
- Bicycling is good for your health: A two-mile commute will burn about 100 calories in 15 minutes. This makes it competitive to doing cardio in the gym.
- Bike lanes help buffer pedestrians from speeding cars: Pedestrians often hate cyclists just as much as motorists. A bicycle lane prevents a cyclist from silently creeping up from behind them on the sidewalk. It’s the equivalent of being cut off by a car in the street. This discourages bicyclists from riding on the sidewalks, and acts as a buffer between pedestrians and moving vehicles.
- Bike lanes aren’t just for bikes: Bike lanes serve a few different functions. When parking lanes are replaced with bike lanes, residents can easily pull over in vehicles to drop off packages and pick up passengers.
What are the different types of bike lanes?
- Sharrows: Sharrows are intended to serve as a visual reminder that space on the road is meant to be shared by bikes and cars. They don’t provide dedicated space on the street for people biking, so cars can still use a lane with Sharrows in it.
- Striped bike lanes: Striped bike lanes provide a clearer sense of where cyclists should be on the road by creating a lane for bikes, by using white paint.
- Buffered bike lanes: Buffered bike lanes create a dedicated lane for bikes, with the added benefit of putting extra space between cyclists and passing cars, usually with a painted safeguard area of one to two feet.
- Protected bike lanes: Protected bike lanes clearly delineate space on the road for bikes and prevent cars from infringing on that space by using physical barriers.
Thank you and please join me for new upcoming videos
Thank you for joining us and watching my video. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please let us know in the comment section below.
Also, don’t forget to check out my website at: Shifter.info