This research was funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), a U.S. Department of Transportation university transportation center, People for Bikes (formerly Bike Belong) and the Summit Foundation.
Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board
Cycling -- Safety measures, Bicycles -- Oregon -- Safety measures, Traffic safety, Bicycle lanes, Cycling -- Route choice
Buffered and protected bike lanes are increasingly recognized as a valuable tool in enticing potential or wary cyclists to use a bicycle for transportation. These facilities— which provide extra space and (in the case of protected bike lanes) physical separation from motor vehicles—have been studied and are preferred by many bicyclists over traditional bike lanes. There has been little research, however, on the difference between buffer types and how they impact people’s sense of the safety and comfort of bicycling. This paper uses data from surveys collected for a multi-city study of newly constructed protected bike lanes to examine the influence of various hypothetical and actual buffered bike lane designs (some with and some without physical protection) from the perspective of current bicyclists (n=1,111) and residents living near the new facilities (n=2,283) who could be potential bicyclists. Findings suggest striped or painted buffers offer some level of increased comfort, while buffers with some sort of physical protection, even as minimal as a plastic flexpost, yield significant increases in perceived comfort for potential cyclists with safety concerns (the Interested but Concerned demographic). Among residents living near recently built protected bike lanes, 71% of all residents and 88% of the Interested but Concerned indicated that they would be more likely to ride a bicycle if motor vehicles and bicycles were physically separated by a barrier.
McNeil, Nathan; Monsere, Christopher M.; and Dill, Jennifer, "The Influence of Bike Lane Buffer Types on Perceived Comfort and Safety of Bicyclists and Potential Bicyclists" (2015). Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty Publications and Presentations. 221.