Making Bike Lanes Safer

Bike lanes that are separated from vehicle traffic are safer for riders, and some evidence suggests decreases vehicle congestion. In many cities, particularly in Europe, bike lanes are separated from vehicles by parked cars or other fixed barriers like curbs or planters. Some of these are being built in the United States but they are far less common. I have an idea for how this could be brought to more American cities.

Recently cities have been upgrading their parking meters to allow for payment via credit cards. This can be done by updating the existing meter with a new top that has credit card processing capabilities. This is probably the most common. The other upgrade is the removal of individual meters and replacing them with a single or several meter stations where you enter the number for the space you parked in. Let’s combine the second method (a meter for multiple parking spots) with separated bike lanes.

If a city is going to embark on removing individual parking meters, I see an opportunity for them to repaint the street to place parking away from the curb and move the bike lane between the parked cars and the curb. The city will have to label the parking spots so drivers know what spot they’re in for the machine. So why not do some extra painting and swap the bike lane and parking spots. It seems like a way to make bike lanes safer at the same time as updating parking meter technology.