Best Practices in Bicycle Lane Designs

The emphasis of this article is on making bicycle lanes as safe as possible.  No single solution fits all circumstances.  Such considerations as driveways, intersections, cars making right terms, bikes making left terns, etc. must be considered for any given street.  The objective is to make biking as safe as possible for the lowest denominator, those who are not skilled at bicycling or those who are young and immature.  The experienced and advanced bicyclists can mix with car traffic as they are now if they please.

Protected Bike Lanes (Cycletracks):

Protected bike lanes have physical barriers between traffic and the bicycle lane typically Curbs, Posts, Planters, and Parked Cars, and Solid Concrete Barriers.  This makes is impossible for cars to drive into these bikes as was the case for buffered bike lanes.  Protected bike lane are safe from traffic where ever these barriers are present.  Bicyclists are still vulnerable at street intersections and driveways but they are significantly safer than most other forms of bike lanes.  It has been shown over and over again that protected bike lanes bring out more people to bicycle thus reducing the number of cars on he road.  The two videos below illustrate protected bike lanes


Protected Intersections:

A protected bike lane are safe until it comes to intersections where again bicycles are exposed to traffic.  Protected intersections were invented by the Dutch and are illustrated in the video below to make intersections safe for bicycles and pedestrians.

Median Bike Lanes:

I median bike lane is built at the center of the road.  This has the advantage of allowing cars to enter driveways without having to cross the bike lane.  This can also make a very pleasant bicycle expressway across town.

Raised Bike Lanes:

Raised bike lanes can take several forms.  What they have in common is that the bike lane is at a higher level than the street.  The purpose of raised bike lanes is to make it physically difficult for cars to drive on the bike lane and to discourage bicycle from going into the street lanes.  The earliest raided were simply extensions to the sidewalk with a marked bike lane.  This evolved into the two step configuration where the bike lane was between the street level and sidewalk level intended to protect pedestrians from bicycles (see below).

Half Step Raised Bike Lane (Cycletrack)

This later evolved into a sloped strip between the bike lane and the road to allow bikes to more easily go into the car lane when crossing the street.

The photo above show a gently sloping and wide transition but the sloped transition can be more narrow for narrow roads.  Texturing and coloring the transition as shown helps to announce its presence to both cars and bikes.

The greatest advantage of raised bike lanes is they can be implemented where the road it too narrow for a Protected Bike Lane.  They are also effective for garbage trucks which can climb the sloped transition to the bike lane to collect garbage at the curb.  Driveway only need an extra slope between the bike lane and the sidewalk.  This is still not as safe as a Protected Bike Lane but is far safer than a painted bike lane.  It is a good compromise where a Protected Bike Lane is not possible doe to space limitation or garbage truck pickups or driveways.

I will continue adding more examples as I come upon them to visit this post in the future to see new best bike lane practices.

About Frank Geefay

Sustainable Bicycle and Smart Growth Advocate
This entry was posted in Examples and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Best Practices in Bicycle Lane Designs

  1. Pingback: Why are Citizens Against More Housing But Not Traffic Congestion? | Biking Cupertino

  2. Pingback: Car-Centricity | Biking Cupertino

  3. Pingback: What are Class IV Cycle Tracks (protected bicycle lanes)? | Biking Cupertino

  4. Pingback: Davis California is 1st City in U.S. to Install Dutch Designed Protected Bicycle Intersection | Biking Cupertino

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