What is a parking-protected bike lane?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Bicycle tips |

Infrastructure has a major influence on the safety of cyclists as they travel on any particular roads. California has invested quite a bit in cyclist-friendly infrastructure, including the creation of thousands of miles of bike lanes on roads throughout the state.

In the greater Los Angeles area, bike lanes are common inclusions when local authorities decide to modernize, repave or otherwise update existing streets. Typically, bike lanes are simply designated lanes on the right of a driving lane where motor vehicles should not operate. In some areas, municipalities have started installing protected bike lanes, also called parking protected bike lanes. What separates these from traditional bike lanes?

Protected bike lanes have a buffer between them in traffic

Bike lanes do help reduce crashes caused by motor vehicles, but they certainly don’t eliminate them. All it takes is a moment of confusion or lost control for a driver to accidentally end up in a bike lane. Impaired and distracted drivers could very easily hit a cyclist riding in a standard bicycle lane.

A protected bicycle lane offers a crucial space between the bike lane and the lanes of traffic. Additionally, it is common to have flexible posts installed at the edge of the parking space that abuts the bike lane, thereby preventing vehicles from invading the bicycle lane either with poor parking practices or due to faulty maneuvers at the wheel.

Some neighborhoods that have attempted to install these bicycle lanes, like Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, have found that protected bicycle lanes may be a viable solution for helping to reduce the likelihood that a cyclist will end up struck by a motor vehicle. Sadly, urban planners and municipal authorities can only do so much to protect cyclists.

Ultimately, the actions of those in motor vehicles are often the main contributing factor to collisions that cost cyclists their lives or put them in the hospital. Making use of protective infrastructure and advocating for better amenities are both ways that cyclists can seek to curtail their degree of risk when out on the road.