Cities Aim to Grow Commuter Bike Trends & Safety

Cities are looking for ways to increase the amount and safety of commuter bike lanes.

Local governments are looking to increase the amount and safety of commuter bike trails, as demand grows for protected bike infrastructure. 

Commuter bike lanes are on the rise across the country, thanks to a coordinated effort between local governments, bike enthusiasts and the mutual desire to create safe bike infrastructure for riders.

The amount of bike lanes has not been the only focus, but the quality and the improved coordination of the road between motorists and cyclists, as well.

Colored Commuter Bike Lanes Make a Marked Difference

One of the most recognized ways to elevate awareness of bikes on the road is the inclusion of colored commuter bike lanes in the design. In their “Urban Bikeway Design Guide,” the National Association of City Transportation Officials lay out the effectiveness of green-colored bike lanes, which have been shown to:

  • Increase the visibility of cyclists
  • Discourage people from illegally parking in the bike lane
  • Increases the amount of motorists who yield to bicyclists
  • Promotes the multi-modal nature of a street

Colored bike lanes can be customized to best fit the area they will be applied in, from fully covering all bike lanes, to only used in intersections or trouble spots.

Colored bike lanes, as pictured here, are an innovative way to elevate awareness of bicyclists.

Image: NACTO

Protected Bike Lanes Provide Extra Level of Safety

Protected commuter bike lanes are ones in which a physical barrier, such as planters, curbs, parked cars or posts provide additional protection to bicyclists.

Through a five-year initiative called the Green Lane Project, PeopleForBikes.org helped quadruple the number of protected bike lanes in the country by working with local governments of major U.S. cities, such as Austin, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Portland, Ore., to increase the amount of protected lanes.

The protected bike lane encourages more bicyclists because of the increased level of safety it provides, by separating cyclists from both cars on the road, and pedestrians on sidewalks.

Targeted Cities to Receive Protected Bike Lanes

After the success of the Green Lane Project, PeopleForBikes.org began working on a new initiative called The Big Jump, aimed at developing protected bike lanes in specific neighborhoods of 10 target cities, with the goal of doubling or tripling the amount of bike riders in those areas.

The targeted cities are:

  • Austin, Texas.
  • Baltimore, Md.
  • Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • New Orleans, La.
  • New York City, N.Y.
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Providence, R.I.
  • Tuscon, Ariz.

Riding habits will be tracked in the neighborhoods over the next three years, which they hope will provide more evidence to show that increasing bike riders improves the quality of a community.

Answer PeopleForBikes.org’s City Ratings survey about the bike-friendliness of your town, which will be used to help identify what cities are doing the most to protect bicyclists and promote bike safety.

Read these EfficientGov articles for more information on the best practices for bike safety in communities:

Bike Sharrows Found to Implicate Cyclist Injuries

Paris Elevates Cyclists with Bike Highway

About the author

Rachel Engel

Rachel Engel

Author Rachel Engel is also Associate Editor of Military1.com. She is based in Kansas.