TransitBLOG_logo

Bike lanes: Not one size fits all

Posted by Natalie Runnerstrom on 9/20/18 11:33 AM

bike-lane-redesign-demand-neighborhood-construction-traffic-safety                      Photo by Julia Stepper on Unsplash

Bike lanes change constantly around the world; size, coloring, dividers... there are more things that go into their design than most people think. Demand fluctuates from one town to the next, affecting what's being demanded and what makes sense for different areas. 

What's really causing cities to rethink their bike lanes are scooters. Whether you own your own, have become a Bird or Skip enthusiast, or aren't quite sold on them yet — they're here to stay. Since scooters have taken off, we've seen even more mobility options pilot some of our streets. One of the biggest points of contention that's come from increasing mobility choices is where each type belongs. 

Just because scooters are out there doesn't mean that they'll mesh with every street or neighborhood's needs. This is where the construction or reconstruction of bike lanes comes into play. Often, people on scooters aren't sure where to go, so they end up on a mix of sidewalks, streets, and bike lanes

Pedestrians are fed up with having to dodge scooters zooming through sidewalks or moving ones that are left improperly parked. The problem isn't with those on the scooters, thought — depending on the area, it makes sense why riders would flee to the sidewalks. Traffic coupled with a lack of bike lanes has made riding on the street intimidating and unsafe. 

bird-scooters-DC-bike-lanes-design-smart-cities

Solution? We have to optimize our streets to make bike lanes smarter. San Antonio is just one of many cities looking to scooters' rising popularity as a reason to build better bike lanes. In a busy city, there are a lot of speeds existing simultaneously on the same street. Pedestrians walking their dogs or going to work next to all of the cyclists, runners, scooters, and mopeds, plus myriad cars, taxis, buses, and trucks becomes cumbersome.

Autonomous cars could be a large part of this future. Companies that are working to create driverless cars claim they'll lead to smaller streets, which will increase pedestrian access and leave room for more spacious bike lanes that can be shared with all types of vehicles and speeds.

The bottom line is: We need to start implementing modern bike lane designs to assist our changing transportation scene. This should be part of a larger curb redesign to create safer and better streets for everyone — not just cars.

Topics: Mobility, Bikes, Design, Smart Cities