It’s been shown over and over that quality protected bike lanes improve safety for all road users. In fact, protected bike lanes are one of the most effective tools we have to improve safety and comfort for people on foot.
There are many reasons for this, but the Green Lane Project recently highlighted four of these reasons on their blog, and they used Seattle twice to illustrate their point:
- Protected bike lanes shorten crossing distances
- Protected bike lanes make it easier to know which direction cars are coming from
- Dedicated signal phases prevent turning conflicts with people walking
- Protected bike lanes reduce traffic weaving
To learn more about each point, check out the blog post.
As Seattle looks to make effective changes to its most dangerous streets, it’s important to realize that protected bike lanes are only partly a tool for helping people get around town on bikes. They are also a way to make a street safer for everyone. That why at times it may make sense for the city to install bike lanes on a street that is not listed on the Bike Master Plan. Like Rainier Avenue.
Below is a before/after from one Broadway intersection illustrating how the bikeway has dramatically improved comfort and safety for people on foot: