Why does bicycling explode on streets with two-way bike lanes? And should this type of bike lane be avoided?

two way bike lanes
Lloyd wrote up a great article yesterday summarizing the epic bike protected bike lane study that just came out from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities. I'm going to dig in a bit more on one point – the explosive growth in bicycling on streets with two-way protected bike lanes. And I'll also examine some criticism of these bike lanes.
First of all, just to be clear what we're talking about, above is a cross section of a street in Austin, Texas, with protected two-way bike lanes. Here are some before and after pics of this street as well:
While bicycling increased quite a lot on all streets studied where protected bike laneswere added, but it really exploded on two of the streets where two-way bike lanes were added. In the case above, there was even a conventional bike lane in place before this two-way one was created, making the growth that much more impressive.
Before discussing why this type of bike facility might have increased bicycle rates so much, below is a cross section and some pictures of Dearborn St in Chicago, where biking increased a tremendous 171%. I'm not sure why the cross section doesn't include flexposts – you can see them in all three of the "now" pictures above.
So, why does this particular type of bike lane seem to increase ridership so much? And are there issues with such bike lanes? (Hint: yes.)
Read the entire article at Treehugger


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