New York City is getting a remodel. A bike lane remodel. Protected bike lanes are being installed throughout the city in order to protect cyclists and drivers from colliding. Protected bike lanes use planters or curbs to separate cyclists from the flow of traffic, thereby creating a network of bike-friendly routes that prevent cars from drifting or turning into bike lanes.
New York City started adding protected bike lanes in 2007. While the new bike lanes take up existing street space to create, they do not slow down the flow of traffic. Instead, because motorists no longer have to worry about cyclists in the road or about turning into a cyclist, traffic will flow a lot more smoothly. Protected bike lanes are proving to be safer for both pedestrians and cyclists: there has been a 22% decrease in pedestrian related accidents in areas with protected bike lanes and a 65% decrease in cycling injuries.
Protected bike lanes are a welcome upgrade from the traditional bike lane that doesn’t give cyclists a solid barrier from the flow of motor traffic. As more protected bike lanes are installed throughout New York City, we hope that sets the example to other areas of the country to adopt similar bike infrastructure plans in order to protect cyclists and motorists from injury.
In Florida, legislators have been working hard to expand the current network of trails but we have little to no protected bike lanes. If New York City can pull off protected bike lanes with the volume of traffic they have then why not in Florida? Our emphasis has been on green lanes, which is a good start, but they offer little to no protection from traffic. Let’s get on board to insist on greater safety.