In honor of Provo’s Bike to School Week, I thought I’d share a few pictures of the bike lanes I’ve seen traveling. These pictures are by no means a comprehensive survey of what’s possible, but they do present some interesting examples of cities trying to make cycling more prominent.
More broadly, the National Association of City Transportation Officials recently released an update to its Urban Bikeway Design Guide. The guide has all sorts of useful and illuminative approaches for bolstering bikeability in cities.
Barcelona turned out to be a major bicycle city with an array of bike lanes going all over the place. It was really quite impressive. In this picture, the bike lane runs along a relatively narrow, one-way street and is separated by painted lines and raised rubber markers.
This bike lane is entirely separated from the car lanes and mixes more fluidly with pedestrian traffic. This section of road also looks like it might have taken vehicle areas of the street and converted them to pedestrian areas in much the same way New York did in this post.
Another bike lane in Barcelona, this time separated with a small buffer and designated with paint.
Unlike many bike lanes, Seville put this one deep inside the sidewalk. That means a lot more safety from cars, though as is apparent it also means a lot more pedestrians walking in the bike lane.
Seville, Spain. The bike lane in this picture is a bit difficult to see, though while I was in the city it was actually very well used. The lane-like thing running down the middle of the picture is actually a track for a street car. The bike lane is to the left of those tracks and is marked by raised metal bolt-like things. In this picture, there is a roller blader about half way down the bike lane. Like some of the lanes in the pictures above, this one was in a pedestrian zone and therefore had a lot of non-cyclists using it. Unlike some of these other Spanish bike lanes, I also used this one as I had access to a bike in Seville.
Admittedly this isn’t a bike lane, but it is a bike share program in the relatively small city of Segovia, Spain. The population of this city is only 55,000.
A boulevard in Madrid. The lane in the left of this picture is actually for a bus rapid transit type system. However, I did see a cyclist using it. I’m not sure if that’s allowed or encouraged in this city.
This picture of Amsterdam is a bit older (2010) but it shows a protected bike lane along a canal. (Yes, that’s me on the bike.) Honestly, the entire city of Amsterdam is like one huge bike lane and at least when I was there most people just road in the street. There were so many bikes that I actually had trouble finding a place to lock my bike up, despite the fact that nearly every street is lined with fences; there were so many bikes that every square inch of every fixed metal object was being used for bike parking.
Paris is a great city, but this has to be one of the worst bike lanes I’ve ever seen. If I’m seeing it correctly, it’s that thing in the middle of the picture on the right side of the street. I could be wrong, but it looks like it’s only about 18 inches wide, most of which is in a gutter, and is going against car traffic. It’s so bad I feel like my eyes must be deceiving me, but otherwise this goes to show that even big powerful cities can fabulously botch simple things.
The bike lane in this picture — which was taken near Union Square in New York — is deceptively hard to see. I took the picture after seeing a guy ride his bike down the lane in the middle of the picture that’s partitioned off with planters. After taking it, however, I realized that the real bike lane was off to the right. It’s just barely visible at the edge of the picture and is marked by a green strip on the pavement. The protected lane apparently is just a pedestrian space, though cyclists obviously use it, as well as the normal traffic lanes.
A bike lane and rack in Salt Lake City near Temple Square.
A bike lane in Provo on Center Street near Provo Peak Elementary.