The Ohio River Trail Council supports the development of Bike Lanes in all the Ohio River Trail Partner Communities.
Safety Benefits of Bike Lanes
Bike lanes help define road space, decrease the stress level of bicyclists riding in traffic, encourage bicyclists to ride in the correct direction of travel, and signal motorists that cyclists have a right to the road. Bike lanes help to better organize the flow of traffic and reduce the chance that motorists will stray into cyclists’ path of travel. Bicyclists have stated their preference for marked on-street bicycle lanes in numerous surveys. In addition, several real-time studies where cyclists of varying abilities and backgrounds ride and assess actual routes and street conditions) have found that cyclists are more comfortable and assess a street as having a better level of service for them where there are marked bike lanes present.
In summary, bike lanes provide the following safety benefits:
- Support and encourage bicycling as a means of transportation;
- Help define road space;
- Promote a more orderly flow of traffic;
- Encourage bicyclists to ride in the correct direction, with the flow of traffic;
- Provide bicyclists a clear place to be so they are not tempted to ride on the sidewalk;
- Remind motorists to look for cyclists when turning or opening car doors;
- Signal motorists that cyclists have a right to the road;
- Reduce the chance that motorists will stray into cyclists’ path of travel;
- Make it less likely that passing motorists swerve toward opposing traffic;
- Decrease the stress level of bicyclists riding in traffic.
Additional Benefits of Bike Lanes
- Space is provided for bicycle use and in limited cases for pedestrian use; safety is improved for motorists who will not have to travel out of the lane in order to pass bicyclists.
- Space is provided for motor vehicles to stop partially or completely out of the travel lane because of mechanical difficulty, a flat tire, or other emergency.
- Space is provided to escape potential accidents or reduce their severity.
- Space is provided for emergency vehicle access through congested areas as motorists pull into the bike lane or shoulder to allow emergency vehicles to pass.
- The sense of openness created by bike lanes/paved shoulders improves the ability to drive the roadway.
- Sight distance and turning space is improved both for users traveling along the roadway with bike lanes/paved shoulders as well as for users entering the roadway from a side street or driveway.
- Highway capacity is improved; uniform speed is encouraged.
- Improved space is provided for maintenance work such as maintenance of utilities.
- Improved space is provided for motorists who have accidentally left the travel lane to recover and return to the lane.
- Improved space is provided to discharge stormwater from the travel lanes, increasing safety for users and capacity of the roadway.
- Pavement life is increased because structural support is given to the pavement, reducing the raveling effect caused by motor vehicles traveling on the edge of pavement or traveling immediately adjacent to the gutter pan.
- Improved space is provided for bus stops.
- Increased safety is provided for right-turning vehicles due to increased turning radii at intersections and driveways; rear-end accident potential is reduced.
- Increased safety is provided for motorists to avoid fixed objects such as telephone and signal poles due to provision of additional clear zone area.
- Improved space is provided by paved shoulders for motorists to pass on the right of left-turning vehicles, as allowed by law.
- Air quality benefits are provided due to provision of space for bicycle travel and to reduced particulate matter from vehicles traveling on unpaved shoulders.