Friday, October 26, 2012

Paint Bike Lanes Green

One of the green bike lane configurations approved by FDOT for  State-maintained thoroughfares.

Various studies conclude that bike lanes painted green are safer than conventional bike lanes.  The Florida Department of Transportation determined that more motorists signalized their intention to turn and a significantly higher percentage of motorists yielded to cyclists after painting a bike lane green.  In another study, painting a bike lane green reduced motorist encroachment on the bike lane by 40%.   The Portland Bike Lane study supports coloring bike lanes and cites additional studies from around the world.  Green paint (or in some cities, blue paint) undoubtedly makes motorists more aware of bike lanes.   

By visually narrowing the drive area, motorists will slow-down somewhat, improving safety for everyone.  Motorist speeds at Prospect Park, where New York City installed a protected green bike lane, declined by about 25%.  Green buffered bike lanes--also known as "cycle tracks"--will significantly increase bicyclist use.  One study concluded that the green buffered lane increased cycling 52 percent overall, 250 percent overall on weekends, 100% overall among women, and 650% among women on weekends.  Cyclists obviously feel safer with this type of infrastructure, and one study showed cycle tracks as the safest available biking infrastructure in an urban setting.  New York City reports cycling increased more than 50% after installation of a protected bike lane, while  car crashes decreased by more than a third.  Yet another study found a strong correlation between adding this type of infrastructure and economic development--in fact a 49% increase in retail sales on one street.  

Prospect Park Buffered Green Bike Lane ( -- inspiration for Central Florida.

The Florida Department of Transportation has approved of green bike lanes on State Highways, but only where the lanes conflict with turning motorist traffic.  Take a look at Chapter of FDOT's Plans Preparation Manual.  It's a start. 

In June 2011, the American Journal of Public Health published a study whose authors conclude, "To prevent crashes at intersections, we recommend installation of 'bike boxes' and markings that indicate the path of bicycle lanes across intersections."  You can view the abstract HERE.      

Finally, here is a LINK to the Federal Highway Administration's interim approval of green bike lanes.

In Winter Park, green bike lanes should be considered for next to Brookshire Elementary School (under reconstruction), Fairbanks Avenue (an FDOT thoroughfare set for reconstruction with a new sewer system),  and where cross streets intersect the Lakemont Avenue bike lanes.

Green paint costs pennies per linear foot.  It's well worth the lives it could save.