Winter 2003, p.7

Colored Bike Lanes: Perfect for NYC

Reportedly, the NYC DOT is looking into using colored pavement to mark NYC bike lanes, a practice used elsewhere in the U.S. and in Europe. T.A. encourages the DOT to use this innovative technique to improve bike lane visibility, especially at intersections and connections to bridges and greenways.

One great advantage of colored bike lanes is that they serve as traffic calming devices; they visually and physically narrow travel lanes, discouraging speeding and reckless driving. According to the NYC Bicycle Master Plan, colored lanes give bicycles "preferential status and motor vehicle parking [in the bike lane] is discouraged."

Indeed, in a study performed in Portland, OR, 28% more motorists yielded to cyclists in the colored lanes and 23% more motorists slowed or stopped when approaching a colored bike lane. Seventy-six percent of cyclists and 50% of motorists also reported that the colored lanes felt safer.

The blue Henry Street bike lane, part of the DOT's Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming project, clearly demarcates safe space for cyclists. But because the lane runs adjacent to Long Island College Hospital, motorists sometimes mistake it for handicapped parking. A quick switch to green would prevent this problem elsewhere in NYC.

Write to the DOT and encourage it to use colored pavement to mark bike lanes.
DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall
40 Worth Street
NYC 10013

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