Bicycles are becoming increasingly popular among urban dwellers as a means of transportation. No wonder as it is not only inexpensive and eco-friendly, it also promotes healthier living. The only downside is that without a proper bicycle infrastructure in place, you could be looking at increased accidents and deaths on the road.
Here are some things you need to consider when you’re in the process of setting up a bike lane in your community.
What’s the Traffic Like?
Before you even begin to lay down the foundation of your bike lane, you need to thoroughly study the traffic situation in the area. How busy are the roads? What’s the average speed of the motorists? How often do road accidents occur in the area?
You might also want to take note of when rush hour is and the volume of vehicles that traverse the roadways during those times. Pay attention to how heavy or light the traffic is at this time. Is it moving slowly? Is it at a standstill? These considerations are important to note before you build the type of bike lane you need to protect both the cyclist and the motorist.
What Type of Bike Lane Do You Need?
Once you’ve conducted your review of your roads, you can make a better decision on the kind of bike lane you would need to set up. You have four options:
Conventional Bike Lanes
These are the most common types of bike lanes and the simplest to implement. These are typically put on the right side of the road, nearest to the curb. Thus, you would have two bike lanes on a two-way street. You don’t need special equipment to set this up. Simple markings on the road and signage would suffice.
Buffered Bike Lanes
These are more common in major thoroughfares where you get wider roads. Apart from the typical signage designating it as a conventional bike lane, you also get painted buffers that gives more space between the cyclist and motorist. This promotes an easier and smoother commute for the cyclist since they would have enough space to navigate a busy road. Do take note that the buffer should not be so big that motorists mistake it for a parking space.
Counterflow Bike Lanes
Just as the name suggests, this is a type of bike lane where cyclists go against the flow of traffic. This is type is still set up on the right side of the rode but the counterflow works in areas where traffic is busy and there are many out-of-direction routes. How would you know this? Gather data about the number of cyclists that go against traffic on the road. They would usually go against the flow in areas that would either cut down their time dealing with motorists or because it is a more direct route.
Left Side Bike Lanes
You would need to place your bike lanes on the left side of the road when putting it on the right side would interfere with bus stops or parking restrictions. This is also ideal for one-way streets and streets divided by a median.
Regardless of the type of bike lane that would work best for your area, you have to ensure that it measures a meter or two in width. Depending on the traffic volume, you also have to decide on whether or not adding barriers along the bike lane would add more protection for the cyclists.
You also have to consider the right kind of paint to use for your road and weather conditions when painting on the signage for the pavement. You can choose to use the same kind of paint you use for crosswalks or something more reflective. Seek out the help of reputable traffic paint suppliers as their experience would be valuable in coming to a decision.
Once you’ve gathered all the data that you need, don’t overlook the importance of talking to cyclists themselves. You may have the numbers, but since they’re the ones using the roads, they would also have their own opinions on what needs to be done. Listen to them so you can come up with ways that would make traveling safe for everyone.