As summer approaches and more people opt for eco-friendly modes of transportation, such as biking, it’s important for cities to provide the necessary infrastructure to make it safe and accessible for all. One of the key elements to this is bike lanes. But how can you tell if your street is wide enough for bike lanes?
Assessing Your Street
According to a recent study, the average width of a bike lane is 5 feet. To accommodate for the cyclist and the 3-foot buffer on either side for safety, a minimum street width of 11 feet is required to install a bike lane.
One way to assess if your street is wide enough for a bike lane is to measure the width of the road. On most city streets, each lane is 12 feet wide. So, if your street has two lanes with a center turning lane, it would need to be at least 46 feet wide to add a bike lane on each side.
If you’re unsure about the width of your street or how to measure it, you can contact your local transportation department or check their website for more information.
The Benefits of Bike Lanes
Bike lanes not only make it safer for cyclists, but they also benefit drivers and pedestrians. By creating a dedicated lane for bicyclists, drivers are more likely to see them and give them the space they need. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries for both parties.
Bike lanes also help to reduce congestion on roads by encouraging more people to bike instead of drive. This reduces the number of cars on the road and saves time for both drivers and bicyclists. Additionally, by reducing the number of cars on the road, bike lanes help to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, making our cities more eco-friendly.
The Cost of Installing Bike Lanes
While the benefits of installing bike lanes are clear, the cost is a concern for many cities. According to a study by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, the cost of a bike lane varies depending on factors such as the width of the lane, the location, and the materials used. On average, a standard bike lane can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 per mile.
Important Note: It’s important to note that the additional cost of installing bike lanes is often offset by the long-term benefits they provide in terms of improved safety, reduced congestion, and a healthier environment.
If you’re interested in advocating for bike lanes in your city but don’t know where to start, there are resources available to help. The League of American Bicyclists offers a variety of resources and programs to help individuals and cities become more bike-friendly. Additionally, the Vision Zero Network is a national organization that works to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries to zero by changing policies and practices in cities across the country.
Bike lanes are an important element of a bike-friendly city. By providing a safe and accessible infrastructure for bicyclists, we can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, reduce congestion on roads, and create a healthier and more sustainable environment.
If you’re concerned about the width of your street and whether or not it’s suitable for a bike lane, be sure to check with your local transportation department for specific guidelines and requirements. And remember, advocacy and community engagement are key to creating change in your neighborhood and city.
Now get out there and ride your bike!