A Brighter Bike Future in Protected Lanes
Under Mayor Ken Livingstone, London has been undergoing a major bike lane transformation: the creation of "Cycle Superhighways." These new types of bike lanes are protected from the road and sidewalk by their own concrete curb, making a road for bikes all their own. This design greatly enhances the safety of cyclists, reducing the chance of injury or fatality by collisions with vehicles. The one problem with this design is that bus stops are along the roadway on islands, and so pedestrians are often crossing into the Cycle Superhighway. Overall, though, the Cycle Superhighways are a great improvement.
In Boston, we are beginning to also appreciate the safety benefits that come with segregating bikes and cars along major thoroughfares. We already have several segregated trails, such as along the Southwest Corridor Park, and Cambridge has built protected bike lanes in the Kendall/MIT area. These improvements are all great starts to protect bicyclists along our most dangerous and congested roadways. This will also keep bikes out of the roadway and out of cars' way (to the extent bikes impinge vehicle travel in the city, that is).
As more protected bike lanes are built, more people will feel safe riding in and around Boston. This will reduce traffic congestion, improve health, and reduce the number of bike and car accidents that occur each year. The value in saved lives will be immeasurable.