Bike Legal Team

Bike Lanes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Around the Globe

busy bike laneBike lanes are meant to give cyclists dedicated space that helps to protect their safety as well as the safety of pedestrians and motorists. However, there are some instances where the lanes leave you wondering what in the world the designers were thinking! Here’s a look at the bad and the ugly, followed by some examples of what all bike lanes should aspire to.

The Bad and the Ugly

  • Edinburgh’s Tramline Bike Lane
    • Near the Edinburgh Haymarket Station, there is a bike lane designated in a narrow space between the curb and the tracks of the tramline. With trams coming every ten minutes, it doesn’t make for the safest place that a cyclist could ride.
  • Almost Non-Existent Victoria Bike Lane
    • Many of the bike lanes in Victoria, British Columbia, are known for being exceptionally narrow, and for providing riders with little room between them and motor traffic.
  • Norway’s Narrow Trap
    • In Kongsberg, Norway, they have a bike path that suddenly goes narrow. There’s no warning of the narrowing lane, and it is lined by a black fence, providing no opportunity to escape if the need arises. Can you say recipe for disaster!?
  • Dual Purpose Cycle Lane
    • Here we have a cycling lane that goes right through the loading area for a bus stop and even has parking restrictions on it.
  • Birmingham Phone Bike Lane
    • In Birmingham, there’s a bike lane that has a phone booth right in the middle of it. The lane does provide a small amount of space for cyclists to go around the booth, but if the door opens when you are about to go by, it is not likely to go well.

Good Example

Following the NACTO design recommendations for an urban bikeway is another good way to ensure the safety of riders. Planters separate this bikeway from the pedestrian lane and roadway.

For one of the best examples of good bike lane design, look to the Westlake bike path in Seattle. It ensures the safety of cyclists, is spacious and is not an obstruction to motor traffic or pedestrians.

When bike lanes are poorly designed, it can be worse than having no bike lane at all. Many of the lanes mentioned add to the danger, and people can get hurt.

If you have been injured as the result of a poorly designed bike path or other cycling accident and need legal representation, the attorneys at Bike Legal can help. We know bike laws and have been dedicated to winning cycling and personal injury cases for the past 35 years.