Cyclists Need More Than Bike Lanes

Think bike lanes are enough to get people biking? WalkBikeCT would have you think again. A post on this Streetsblog Network member site today says that a more comprehensive planning approach is necessary to make most people feel safe on two wheels:

511799212_724dd43c28.jpgPhoto from‘s photo pool on Flickr.

reason cycling as transportation is not too popular in this country is
that, as a policy, roads are optimized for recklessly fast automobile
travel.…As you might guess, bike lanes, i.e. paint stripes and a
bicycle symbol on the side of the road, are not going to help this
situation much. A few people might feel safer and venture into the
road, but at the end of the day you still have cars traveling fast
enough to easily
and instantly kill a human being.

Designing towns
optimized for pedestrian travel, where cars proceed slowly enough that
they can safely share the road with pedestrians and cyclists — that’s a
solution you can believe in.

From Ohio, we have two encouraging posts. Car Less Ohio
writes about a new office park development in Wooster, OH, that is
being designed with 8,000 feet of sidewalk and a bike path. And Xing Columbus reports that the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s stimulus wish list includes a light rail project, a bike path and a greenway.

  • Chris in Sacramento

    Let’s try this again.

    One of the earlier posters suggested something to the effect that “ped-friendly does not equal bike-friendly.”

    They’re not absolutely equal but, boy, if a city has the ped-friendly vehicle speed reductions and parking policies, educated and careful motorists, enforcement programs, traffic signal operations, placemaking and density, that’s arguably only a few bike racks this side of bicycle-friendly.

    Put another way: A city can be deemed bicycle-friendly (on the basis of bicycle-specific infrastructure or programs) and not be nearly the attractive or pleasurable human habitat as one that is clearly bicycle-friendly.

  • I have no problem with bike lanes if the cops would just once enforce San Francisco’s ban on riding your bike on the sidewalk.

  • “educated and careful motorists, enforcement programs,” — that goes BOTH ways for cars AND cyclists.

    Getting people out on their bikes on city streets requires making them feel less vulnerable than they currently make them feel that they have a right to be out there on their bike on equal footing with cars. That means educated drivers who won’t honk at you for taking the lane when required, and bicyclists who operate in proper vehicular fashion and give and get respect out there on the street. And equal enforcement for all.

    Bikes won’t be taken seriously until everyone (car drivers, bike riders, and the overseeing authorities alike) considers them as legitimate vehicles.

    Same roads, same rules, same responsibilities!!



What Other Cities Say about Cleveland’s Unusual Bike Lane Buffer

Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. For all their benefits, protected bike lanes can be complicated. Between maintaining barriers, keeping them clear of snow and preserving intersection visibility, it’s understandable that cities opt not to include them on […]

Vancouver Gives a Bridge Lane to Bikes

New York isn’t the only city that’s experimenting with closing roads to improve traffic and create better conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Today, from Streetsblog Network member Human Transit, we hear of a bridge in Vancouver where a lane of car traffic has been given over to cyclists: Happy cyclists coming off the Burrard Bridge […]