Number of Protected Bike Lanes in America Nearly Doubled in 2012

This is becoming a more common sight in American cities. Photo: BicyclesOnly/Flickr

They’re the Cadillac (or, should we say, the Colnago) of bike infrastructure: protected bike lanes.

But on-street bikeways that give cyclists some measure of physical protection from traffic have been more or less unheard of in American cities — until recently. After New York City implemented a protected bike lane on Ninth Avenue in 2007, the treatment began to spread. Now, through their Green Lane Project, Bikes Belong is on a mission to make this type of bike lane an unremarkable sight in the United States. And cities are making real progress on that front.

The Green Lane Project blog reports today that the number of “green lanes” in American cities has almost doubled over the last year:

Although these protected on-street bike facilities have long been a staple in Europe, they’ve only recently gained traction in the U.S. Between 1874 and 2011, only 62 were built nationwide. The new inventory shows that this number will nearly double to 102 protected green lanes on the ground in 32 U.S. cities by the end of 2012. Building on this momentum, the U.S. is projected to add another 100 green lanes in 2013.

For many riders, the stripe of paint is not enough to make riding a bike for every day travel an attractive and comfortable option.

Sixty percent of Americans say they would bike more often if they had a safe place, like a green lane, to ride. This point was validated by a recent study in Washington D.C. that revealed bicycling increased 200% on Pennsylvania Avenue after green lanes were installed.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Portland reports that the Oregon Department of Transportation recently added a buffered bike lane on a rural highway. Greater Greater Washington provides on update on DC’s revisions to its parking policies, which would eliminate mandatory parking minimums in many parts of the city altogether. And Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space says Grover “No Tax” Norquist and his acolytes are trying to prevent Virginia from raising its gas tax.