Summer 2003, p.6

Cycling News
DOT Wants to Color In Curbside Bike Lanes

In Portland, OR, blue bike lanes connect to bridge paths and guide bicyclists through dangerous intersections.
In Portland, OR, blue bike lanes connect to bridge paths and guide bicyclists through dangerous intersections.
In a June meeting, the department of Transportation confirmed that, thanks in part to the positive response to the two-block blue bike lane on Henry Street in Brooklyn, it intends to use light blue or green colored asphalt to pave the city's five miles of curbside bike lanes, about two-and-one-half miles of which are on Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens. Before the DOT begins work in 2004, though, it must get an agreement that contractors will maintain the colored lanes when they cut open streets. T.A. hopes that the colored lanes' success will continue and that the DOT will adapt it for other locations, such as improving bicyclist safety at dangerous and confusing greenway and bridge entrances and at heavily cycled intersections.

The NYC Bicycle Master Plan states that colored bike lanes give bicyclists "preferential status" and reduce motor vehicle speeding and illegal parking. Studies confirm that colored bike lanes increase bicyclist safety. In Portland, OR, motorists yielded to cyclists in colored bike lanes 28% more than normal and motorists slowed or stopped when approaching a colored lane 23% more than normal. Seventy-six percent of cyclists and 50% of motorists said that the colored lanes felt safer.

By nature, curbside bike lanes are safer than bike lanes striped between car parking and travel lanes. Curbside lanes are safer because, without adjacent car parking, there is little chance that bicyclists will be hit by opening car doors, the most common cause of cycling crashes in NYC.

Write to Commissioner Weinshall and ask the DOT to use colored bike lanes at greenway and bridge entrances and at heavily cycled intersections.

Commissioner Iris Weinshall
NYC DOT
40 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013

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