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Missoula Streets and Trails

Bike Lane Benefits to All

Benefits of Urban Bike Lanes to Other Road Users.

For Pedestrians:
Greater separation from traffic, especially in the absence of on-street parking or a planter strip, increasing comfort and safety. This is important to young children walking, playing or riding their bikes on curbside sidewalks.

Reduced splash from vehicles passing through puddles (a total elimination of splash where puddles are completely contained within the bike lane).

An area for people in wheelchairs to walk where there are no sidewalks, or where sidewalks are in poor repair or do not meet ADA standards.

A space for wheelchair users to turn on and off curb cut ramps away from moving traffic.
The opportunity to use tighter corner radii, which reduces intersection crossing distance and tends to slow turning vehicles.

In dry climates, a reduction in dust raised by passing vehicles, as they drive further from unpaved surfaces.

For Motorists:

Greater ease and more opportunities to exit from driveways (thanks to improved sight distance).

Greater effective turning radius at corners and driveways, allowing large vehicles to turn into side streets without off-tracking onto curb.

A buffer for parked cars, making it easier for motorists to park, enter and exit vehicles safely and efficiently. This requires a wide enough bike lane so bicyclists aren't "doored."

Less wear and tear of the pavement, if bike lanes are restriped by moving travel lanes (heavier motor vehicles no longer travel in the same well-worn ruts).

For Other Modes:

Transit: A place to pull over next to the curb out of the traffic stream.

Delivery vehicles (including postal service): a place to stop out of the traffic stream.

Emergency vehicles: Room to maneuver around stopped traffic, decreasing response time.

Bicyclists: Greater acceptance of people bicycling on the road, as motorists are reminded that they are not the only roadway users;

Non-motorized modes: An increase in use, by increasing comfort to both pedestrians and bicyclists (this could leave more space for motorists driving and parking).

For the Community (Livability factors):

A traffic calming effect on arterials when bike lanes are striped by narrowing travel lanes.
Better definition of travel lanes where road is wide (lessens the "sea of asphalt" look).
An improved buffer to trees, allowing greater plantings of green canopies, which also has a traffic calming effect.

Back to 4 to 3 Lane Conversions page

originally from Oregon Department of Transportation

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