Seattle is a favorite place for cycling, and bicyclists now have the opportunity to bike more safely than ever with the introduction of the first protected bike lane to the downtown area. Opened on Second Avenue between Pike Street and Yesler Way, the new Seattle bike lane is intended to encourage cycling, as well as provide cyclists with a safer place for riding.
What is a protected bike lane?
Unlike a regular bike lane that hugs both the main road and the road’s shoulder, a protected bike lane is a bike lane that is physically separated from the main road where motorists drive.
Additionally, a protected bike lane is also separated and distinct from a sidewalk, providing motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians all with a safe place to drive, ride, or walk, respectively. The new Seattle bike lane meets this criteria.
The Benefits of a Protected Bike Lane
Not only do protected bike lanes give commuters and travelers a separate place to do so via their chosen means of transportation, but it also creates safety for everyone involved. By moving cyclists off the road, cyclists will face a smaller risk of being involved in an accident with a motorist, or becoming a victim of the door zone.
For those who like to cycle but fail to do so as a result of safety concerns, the city’s new protected bike lane should set their minds at ease. A protected bike lane is also a great way to incentivize biking in general, and may ease congestion levels on the road by reducing the number of vehicles. The new Seattle bike lane will do both.
Features of the Protected Bike Lane
Creating a protected bike lane wasn’t the city’s only goal, instead, the city hopes to increase the amount of bicycling trips and improve safety for cyclists. As such, the new Seattle bike lane on Second Ave and Pike will serve as one step in the project, as hopes for more protected bike lanes throughout the state are high.
The protected bike lane is part of a $36 million bicycle improvement plan known as the Bicycle Master Plan, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation. In addition to the bike lane itself, the lane has been outfitted with things such as new traffic signals, including left turn signals to help alert drivers to when it’s safe to move through the intersection.
What’s more, the city also added more places for people to park their bikes, as well as a brand new bike rental system. The combination of features of the protected bike lane, as well as more parking and bike rental opportunities, is intended to encourage more cycling.
Keeping Cyclists Safe
The project idea for the protected Seattle bike lane, sadly, was inspired by tragic events. According to a news advisory about the bike lane published by the City of Seattle, 61 bike related collisions were reported on Second Avenue between the streets of Pine and Jackson over the past 4.5 years (from 2010 to September 2014).
While some of these incidents were minor, others caused serious injuries or were fatal. As many of these accidents involved left hand turns, the traffic lights and protected lane should help to lessen the chance of future collisions, keeping more cyclists safe while on the road.
If You’ve Been in a Cycling Accident
While bike lanes can help to protect cyclists, sometimes, accidents still happen. If you’ve been hit by a motor vehicle while cycling and have sustained injuries, an attorney can help you to recover the damages you deserve. At Max Meyers Law PLLC, our attorney will fight hard for your rights. Call us today to get started on filing a claim at 425-399-7000.