Monday, August 22, 2011

A case for bike lanes

Photo from Fairfax City Patch
Fairfax City patch recently published a blog article entitled A Case for Bike Lanes? that asks the question "What do you think about bike lanes? Are they useful, or just a trend? Where would you want to see them in Fairfax City?"
In the past 10 years I have seen bike lanes installed in every condition, from the cycle tracks along Pennsylvania Avenue to converted shoulders on rural roads in Delaware. George Mason recently installed them along Patriot Circle and they have been used as part of a “road diet” in Reston.

Fairfax City has yet to hop on this bandwagon, but it has been discussed. So, should we? And if so, where do bike lanes make sense?

First, it is important to understand why bike lanes have been all the rage over the past few years. I mean, why not just use sidewalks or paths? Well, bike lanes function more like bike highways for commuters in that they don’t require you to slow down at every street crossing as you do when using a sidewalk or parallel path. It is important for bike commuters to be able to maintain a constant high rate of speed in order to make biking a more competitive alternative to driving (bikers should still stop at traffic lights and stop signs, though I realize many do not). Bike paths on the other hand are more desirable for leisure riders.

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