Protected bike lanes are now officially federal policy
- on May 22, 2015
After two years of research into numerous modern protected bike lanes around the country, the Federal Highway Administration has released a new Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide.
A “separated bike lane” (sometimes referred to as a “cycle track” or “protected bike lane”) is a portion of a roadway that physically separates people riding bicycles from people driving motor vehicles. The physical separation can be achieved with parked cars, curbs plastic posts or planters.
The number of protected bike lanes has nearly quadrupled in the U.S. since 2010. Between 1874 and 2011, only 78 of these facilities were built nationwide. Today, 196 protected lanes are on the ground in 60 cities and 28 states across the country.
"Many potential cyclists (including children and the elderly) may avoid on-street cycling if no physical separation from vehicular traffic is provided," the FHWA document says, citing last year's study by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities.
Protected bike lanes are an important tool for building safe, comfortable, and connected networks of bicycle infrastructure that meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities.