But with more bikers mixed in with everyday traffic, safety has become a concern. Most big cities now have special bike lanes in high traffic areas, but many do not. Portland, Oregon has become a model when it comes to bicycle safety lanes. Up to nine per cent of people working downtown bike to work and Portland has become known as a very bike friendly city.
Safety is a primary concern as bikers are vulnerable and virtually unprotected when sharing the road with larger cars, trucks and buses. Improving bicycle lanes in America is the answer to that vulnerability. These bike lanes need to be well defined and wide enough to safely accommodate bikers, leaving them extra room as a margin for error.
But attention to providing special lanes for bikers is not just for the sake of safety. Researchers have found that businesses that are located along bicycle routes have enjoyed a marked increase in business. In fact, bikers spend 24% more a month than other shoppers. This can be attributed to easy access to shops, no difficulties finding parking, and the generally people oriented attitude of those who bicycle on a regular basis.
Biking also requires frequent stops which places the bike rider in a position to notice more than those in cars. Foot and bike traffic is a major source of revenue for these businesses.
In New York City, where they have installed protected green lanes for bikes, there has been a drastic drop in crashes, i.e., between 40-50% in many locations. As a result, some thirty-two other cities have instituted these green lanes as of 2012 and that number is expected to grow exponentially each year.
Surveys in cities with green lanes show bicyclers feel much safer using these improved bicycle lanes. What’s more, motorists do not feel confined by them. Certainly they feel much less intimidated by the threat of a collision since these green bike lanes have come into existence.
All in all, improving bicycle lanes in America has improved the roads for everyone involved. Certainly there are no complaints by restaurant and shop owners as they see their profits improve as these bicycle lanes improve.