Neighborhood Buffered Bike Lane

Another new buffered bike lane has been installed in Chicago, this one in my neighborhood along the business district.  Notice that with this lane the buffer zone is next to parked cars, while with the lane heading into downtown, the buffer zone is next to moving traffic.  Even with the buffer, cyclists still need to bike in the outer portion of the bike lane to avoid opening car doors.

There is a buffered lane on the other side of the street, too, and visually the bike lanes make up a big portion of the roadway.  This street has always been very bike-friendly with slow and light traffic, but the new buffered bike lanes make it even more so.  I consider this low-hanging fruit for CDOT, so while I am happy to see the improvement, I anxiously await improvements where they are most needed – on major routes.

  • David P

    I rode this street last night for the first time since the new lanes were painted, and while, like you, I always found it a very easy street to ride, I was surprised at how much I appreciated the new lanes. It is like a reminder that someone does care, and the cumulative effect of these things is not insignificant, at least psychologically. I imagine the effect may be greater for relatively less experienced cyclists, too.

  • http://endlessvelolove.blogspot.com/ G.E.

    Wow… I love that buffer zone. I think every bike lane in every part of the country should contain that area between parked cars and the bike lane – ingenious and a fairly simple thing to do to make travel by bike just a bit safer. Of course, I also see that the cars don’t necessarily respect the buffer either, as they seem to be parked in between the lines of the buffer, but better there than in the bike lane itself.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamHerstein Adam Herstein

    What street is this?

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Roscoe from Damen to Western.

      • http://twitter.com/AdamHerstein Adam Herstein

        Ah, yes. I’ve ridden down this stretch a few times and I’m definitely a fan. A contraflow lane continuing down Roscoe to the lake would be nice, but School/Aldine is a decent alternative.

        • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

          School is one of my favorite streets to bike on – much nicer than Roscoe east of Lincoln because School is wider and has less traffic.

  • Dweendaddy

    I always think of “buffered bike lane” as “buffered” from moving traffic, but I guess a bike lane can be “buffered” from parked cars, as well.
    Here is what I mean by buffered from cars:
    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikesmart.htm (click on “waht is a buffered bike lane”
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/12/14/finally-some-good-news-for-philly-cyclists/

  • Whitney

    Sadly, it looks like the cars are using the buffer as a leeetle extra parking room!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Yeah, they should get smaller cars if they don’t know how to parallel park! :)

  • Dennis Hindman

    The University of British Columbia did a study on the impact of transportation infrastructure on risk of injuries while cycling:

    http://cyclingincities-spph.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2012/06/TeschkeVeloCity2012.pdf

    This study shows that bike lanes reduce the injury rate some, but cycle tracks and diverting traffic improved the situation even more. Most cyclists sense of danger for the street conditions reflects the injury rates in this report.

    It’s frustrating to see quiet residential streets in Los Angeles get the same unprotected bike lane treatment as a much busier four to eight lane street. The effort and money to try and reduce the stress level for cyclists should increase as the number of lanes, volume or speed of traffic increases.