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Bike lanes help define road space, decrease the stress level of bicyclists riding in traffic, encourage bicyclists to ride in the correct direction of travel, and signal motorists that cyclists have a right to the road. Bike lanes help to better organize the flow of traffic and reduce the chance that motorists will stray into cyclists’ path of travel. Bicyclists have stated their preference for marked on-street bicycle lanes in numerous surveys. In addition, several real-time studies (where cyclists of varying abilities and backgrounds ride and assess actual routes and street conditions) have found that cyclists are more comfortable and assess a street as having a better level of service for them where there are marked bike lanes present.
In summary, bike lanes do the following:
- support and encourage bicycling as a means of transportation;
- help define road space;
- promote a more orderly flow of traffic;
- encourage bicyclists to ride in the correct direction, with the flow of traffic;
- give bicyclists a clear place to be so they are not tempted to ride on the sidewalk;
- remind motorists to look for cyclists when turning or opening car doors;
- signal motorists that cyclists have a right to the road;
- reduce the chance that motorists will stray into cyclists’ path of travel;
- make it less likely that passing motorists swerve toward opposing traffic;
- decrease the stress level of bicyclists riding in traffic.
Well-designed facilities encourage proper behaviour and decrease the likelihood of crashes. Numerous studies have shown that bicycle lanes improve safety and promote proper riding behaviour.
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