We all may know what a protected bike lane is: “are lanes that use physical dividers to separate bike lanes from both cars and sidewalks. They make it pleasant for anyone to bike, just as sidewalks make it pleasant for anyone to walk.” (peopleforbikes.com) Very likely we will also be familiar with the amount of protected bike lanes that are in the US: 404 protected bike lanes among the whole country by the moment, which represent 8% of the US.
It is very common to find this data on articles dedicated to urban cycling, but don’t you have the feeling that there is information missing? We do, that is why in this article we will talk about the history of the American protected bike lanes.
Do you know when and where the first American protected bike lanes were installed?
It was in Davis (California) in 1967 when a public worker employee developed a marking machine with a big container of white paint and a city truck. He drove over the 8th Street, creating this way the first American protected bike path. Five decades later, the neighboring city of San Francisco developed its first separated bike lane.
The city took advantage of the expansion of the campus of the University of California that was located in Davis in order to encourage cycling among students and avoid an influx of cars. Despite they were able to create a car-free campus; this trend was not expanded to the whole city at the beginning because many locals and city officials were not willing to share the road.
Nowadays, the bicycle infrastructure of Davis is composed with more than 100 miles of bike lanes and shared-use paths, and 25 tunnels and bridges exclusive for bikes. It can be said that it is one of the best infrastructures of the country, and not only that, but it is also one of the cities where the bike is most used, more than 20% of all trips are done by bike.
ZICLA and the protected bike lanes.
At ZICLA we know the importance of protected bike lanes, not only for the security of the road users, but also in regards to the air that they breathe and the effects that this can have in their health.
That is why we have developed two systems that are used to segregate the bike lanes on the road. On the one hand, we have the Zebra® family, which ensures safety for cyclists and other road users. Also, we have the Zipper® system, which is a modular system for segregating traffic flows formed by two high-visibility pieces with reflective strips.