At first, it would seem that Protected Bikeways would only benefit cyclists. However, with a closer look it is clear that not only do they make streets safer for bicyclists, but for everyone else as well. At the Coalition, we promote Protected Bikeways in an effort to make our streets safe and accessible for everyone, no matter what mode of transportation people choose. Protected Bikeways promote safety and comfortability for cyclists who can have their own lane, pedestrians have full access to the sidewalk, and drivers can't interact in an open area with cyclists. We have four folks that would like to share how Protected Bikeways make their driving experience safer.
I walk, I ride a bike, I take the bus and the light rail train, I use car2go, and I drive my own car.
When I do drive, it is often to get my kids somewhere. As a parent, trying to keep my kids safe is on my mind. This is why I support protected bikeways as someone who also drives. I like that it’s clear where the cars are and where the bikes are. I like knowing that the protected bikeway keeps people on bikes separated from moving car traffic. I support protected bikeways that are fully separated from car traffic, such as through a curb, raised surface, or green space. I welcome the plastic bollard separated bikeways as an interim solution. I am especially hopeful that increased use of protected bikeways, and more protected bikeways in the future, will mean fewer cars on the streets and slower car traffic speeds. Protected bikeways are not just for people on bikes, they are for people in cars, too. And I support them."
"While I'm happiest on my bicycle, I drive frequently - work meetings in the suburbs, dog park runs, or, like yesterday, driving along 26th street taking my cat to the vet for her checkup.
I like to imagine that as a biker, I'm a more conscientious driver when it comes to seeing and respecting people on bicycles, but I'm the first to admit, “yikes, sharing the road is terrifying.” While I confidently bike up and down Cedar Avenue in my neon helmet and (perhaps naively) trust that folks behind the wheel will make way for me, when I am driving myself, I'm SO nervous for every bike I pass, giving 6 feet instead of the required minimum of 3. (I got that question wrong on my driver's test, but still give 6 feet anyway.)
Point being, I LOVE the protected bike lanes on 26th and 28th. People driving and people biking each have enough space to go at their appropriate speed, and the barrier ensures that drivers don't drift into the bike lanes. I know where to check as I'm turning to ensure that I don't have a bike coming in my blind spot, and I know that I have plenty of room to pass bicycles without leaving my lane. I’d love to see those protected bikeways on 26th and 28th extended through Uptown. I’d also love to see protected bikeways on Cedar! And Franklin! And 94 and 35!!! Everywhere!!!"
The Coalition is starting a blog series of how protected bikeways benefit a wide range of people. We are looking for short perspectives from families or kids, if you are interested in sharing please email [email protected]