A Comparative Analysis of Bicycle Lanes Versus Wide Curb Lanes
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There is a variety of on- and off-road bicycle facilities - each with its advantages and disadvantages. A thorough evaluation of the various kinds of facilities implemented in probicycling communities has been needed by the traffic engineering profession. One of the studies under the FHWA's Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research Program investigated the long-standing issue of whether bicycle lanes or wide curb lanes are preferable. Overall, the study indicated that both bicycle lanes and wide curb lanes can and should be used to improve riding conditions for bicyclists.
The research documented in this report provides a description of the research methodology, data collection procedures, and analysis used to compare the safety and operations of bicycle lanes and wide curb lanes. The information contained in this report should be of interest to State and local transportation engineers, planners, researchers, and bicycle coordinators.
Michael F. Trentacoste
Director, Office of Safety
Research and Development
TECHNICAL REPORT DOCUMENTATION
|1. Report No.
|2. Government Accession No.
||3. Recipient's Catalog No.
|4. Title and Subtitle
A Comparative Analysis of Bicycle Lanes Versus Wide Curb Lanes: Final Report
|5. Report Date
|6. Performing Organization Code
William W. Hunter, J. Richard Stewart, Jane C. Stutts, Herman H. Huang, and Wayne E. Pein
|8. Performing Organization Report No.
|9. Performing Organization Name and Address
University of North Carolina
Highway Safety Research Center
730 Airport Road, CB #3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
|10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
|11. Contract or Grant No.
|12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Office of Safety and Traffic Operations Research & Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101-2296
|13. Type of Report and Period Covered
March 1995 - May 1998
|14. Sponsoring Agency Code
|15. Supplementary Notes
Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR): Carol Tan Esse,
Subcontractor: Bicycle Federation of America
This report is a comparative analysis of bicycle lanes (BLs) versus
wide curb lanes (WCLs). The primary analysis was based on videotapes
of almost 4,600 bicyclists (2,700 riding in BLs and 1,900 in WCLs) in
the cities of Santa Barbara, CA, Gainesville, FL, and Austin, TX, as
the bicyclists approached and rode through eight BL and eight WCL intersections
with varying speed and traffic conditions. The intent was to videotape
bicyclists who regularly ride in traffic. The videotapes were coded
to learn about operational characteristics (e.g., intersection approach
position and subsequent maneuvers) and conflicts with motor vehicles,
other bicycles, or pedestrians. A conflict was defined as an interaction
between a bicycle and motor vehicle, pedestrian, or other bicycle such
that at least one of the parties had to change speed or direction to
avoid the other. Both bicyclist and motorist maneuvers in conflict situations
were coded and analyzed. This covered maneuvers such as a bicyclist
moving incorrectly from the bicycle lane into the traffic lane prior
to making a left turn, or conversely, a motor vehicle passing a bicyclist
and then abruptly turning right across its path. Bicyclist experience
data were also collected separately from the videotaping at each of
the 16 data collection sites in each city through use of a short oral
survey. Slightly more than 2,900 surveys were completed. These data
were analyzed to learn more about the age, riding habits, and experience
levels of the bicyclists riding through these intersections. Bicycle-motor
vehicle crash data were also analyzed to determine if there were parallels
to the videotape data.
In addition to this final report, there is a separate report (FHWA-RD-99-035)
containing a synopsis of the key findings of the final report and recommended
countermeasures, as well as a guidebook (FHWA-RD-99-036) about innovative
|17. Key Words
Bicycle lane, wide curb lane, bicycle operations, bicycle maneuvers, conflicts
|18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.
|19. Security Classification (of this report)
|20. Security Classification (of this page)
|21. No. of Pages
|Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)
||Reproduction of completed page authorized