Despite the inflation in petrol prices, traffic on roads has increased exponentially over the past few years and now an average driver wastes over 35 hours just sitting in traffic.
To overtake the congestion, most solo drivers and underage passengers have started biking to work and school which helps save time. However, it compromises their safety as the lack of designated bike lanes means they hop from sidewalk to road and vice versa.
In this blog, we explain how protected bike lanes can improve everyone’s safety plus the one problem they can solve best.
How are Bike Lanes Safer?
There are several different reasons how protected bike lanes benefit the community. We’ve divided most of them into two main categories:
Decreased Bike Fatalities
Besides head injuries, a majority of bike riding fatalities occur while riding in congested and unmaintained traffic. Protected bike lanes help decrease the fatality rate by building a barrier between the sidewalk and the road.
The barrier may be a simple painted line or a physical barrier that includes (but is not limited to) a row of planters or parked cars, a cement curb or flex posts. It separates riders on bikes, scooters and e-bikes from pedestrians and drivers which decreases the chances of collision.
In fact, Science Daily reports a study that concluded protected bike lanes in cities helped drop the fatality rate by a whopping 75%.
Improved Traffic Flow
Despite the additional lane on the road, bike lanes actually improve the margin of space for car drivers and buses. Since bike riders have a designated space to pedal, it streamlines the traffic and allows drivers to move easily.
Also, buses can easily pick up passengers from the stops without having to move into oncoming traffic and risk the safety of bike riders. Not to mention, cyclists no longer need to dodge vehicles.
Bike lanes are especially helpful for racers practising their speed wearing aero helmets such as the Kask Utopia helmet.
What Problems Could Building Bike Lanes Solve?
The #1 problem bike lanes can help solve is vehicle congestion on roads. As more and more countries adopt the idea of building protected bike lanes, cyclists feel safer riding on the road so the population of bike riders increases which calms the traffic down considerably.
This also allows the youth to build independance and ride bikes to school which gives the guardians more time to prepare for work (or sleep in).
In conjunction to this, bike riding improves the overall health of an individual and designated bike lanes ensure safe cycling so people can now safely run their errands and exercise their body without tripping into bushes.
Best of all, there’s no fuel usage in bike riding so people can save cash, improve their health and decrease the air pollution all within a protected bike lane.
Do Bike Lanes Reduce Traffic?
Yes, bike lanes do reduce traffic by building a narrative of safety around cycling on roads and highways. It allows people to feel safe while biking so the population of bike riders increases, the fatality rate drops, the air pollution decreases and the efficiency of the street function improves.
Protected bike lanes are one of the easiest ways to tackle vehicle congestion and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you cycle both ways on a cycle lane?
Yes, most bike lanes are bidirectional i.e have cyclists riding in both directions. It uses less space on the road and efficiently improves the traffic flow. This way cyclists have a designated space to pedal and drivers do not have to wait in traffic longer.
Is there a speed limit on cycle paths?
Generally, no cycle paths or bike lanes do not actually have speed limits imposed. Unless stated otherwise, the speed limit on cars is to be followed by all other vehicles. To ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, it is recommended to ride at 25 MPH on a cycle lane.
Can I walk in a cycle lane?
It depends on where you live. For instance, bike lanes in the UK can be used by pedestrians, dog-walkers and joggers as well. Of course, if there is a sidewalk present, it is best to steer clear of the bike lane – this is especially if the bike lane is bidirectional.
Protected bike lanes take the guesswork out of navigating the cycle and provide a safe solution that not only benefits bike riders but dog walkers, runners, pedestrians and even car drivers. It creates a norm for the cyclist’s and improves the function of the traffic. So, they must be built.