Types of Bike Infrastructure in Hawai‘i and How to Use It
Protected Bike Lanes
What are protected bike lanes? Protected bike lanes are next-generation bikeways being built across the US. Protected bike lanes (also known as “cycletracks”) are physically separated from motor traffic and distinct from the sidewalk. They use physical barriers – like curbs, plastic bollards, or planters – to separate the cycle track from both cars and sidewalks. They combine the experience of a separated bike path with the on-street infrastructure of a conventional bike lane.
Why should we have more protected bike lanes?
Imagine riding in a wide bike lane that is separated from cars by a physical barrier. Feel safer? That’s because it is! Feel better than riding on the road or in an unprotected bike lane? If you said Yes, then a whole lot of others agree with you!
- Protected bike lanes are safer.
- Protected bike lanes eliminate risk of injury from overtaking vehicles.
- Protected bike lanes reduce risk of “dooring.”
- Protected bike lanes get people off the sidewalk (where they are at increased risk of injury to themselves and pedestrians).
- For all these reasons, people of all levels and ages love protected bike lanes! Which means they get more people out riding, more often!
While they’ve been used in Europe for a long time, in recent years protected bike lanes are taking off in the US with over 70 cities already having at least one in place (as of August 2015). Check out the Green Lane Project’s website for a comprehensive list of protected bike lanes in the US.
Protected Bike Lane (“PBL”) – Safe Biking Tips:
- While the lanes protect cyclists from being struck by motorists from behind, it is part of the roadway and you should operate with similar caution as riding on the road.
- Watch for vehicles crossing at driveways and intersections – always be aware! Slow down & look around for cars & people BEFORE entering the green paint.
- Follow all traffic laws and signals. There are traffic signals facing cyclists both ways that riders must adhere to (please, no running red lights!).
- Yield to pedestrians.
- Be aware of pedestrians crossing from the parking lane on the outside of the protected bike lane to the sidewalk.
- Don’t ride in the “buffer zone” – this is the dreaded “door zone.” The buffer zone is 3-foot area marked by crosshatched paint and designed to provide space for people parking to open their door and get in/out of their car.
- Ride to the right unless passing someone else in the “PBL”. It’s a great courtesy to let them know you’re passing ahead of time with your voice or bell.
- Ride with aloha & care. This is NOT made to be a “bike super-freeway” where you should ride fast & not look around. It’s actually for people that don’t want to ride fast or in the lanes of traffic.
Rules for Safe Driving:
- When crossing the protected bike lanes, yield the right of way. Crossing a protected bike lane is like crossing a travel lane – you must yield the right of way.
- Before making a turn, you must signal your intentions (the law states at least 100 ft in advance).
- When crossing a protected bike lane look both ways (for people on the sidewalk/crosswalk and bike riders in the PBL). Be aware that many cyclists move quite fast.
- When pulling out of or into a driveway, do not stop in a protected bike lane.
- When parking next to a protected bike lane, look before opening your door. Be cautious when walking across a protected bike lane from adjacent street parking. Look both ways before crossing.
- Mopeds are not permitted in protected bike lane.
- Drive always with aloha and care!