Detroit is creating new “protected” bike lanes in an effort to ensure safer cycling.
The green and white lanes are deemed protected because they have a separation between bike and parking lanes. Detroit has more than 200 miles of bike lanes, but only nine miles of the routes are protected, The Detroit News reported.
Some bike lane advocates said installing protected lanes projects a more cosmopolitan, environmentally friendly image of the city, while keeping cyclists safer.
“I love the idea of all the new protected bike lanes because of the sustainability, clean energy, the adrenaline rush of just getting out there and riding every morning, getting exercise and saving on gas,” said Emmanuel Nelson, a Detroit resident who rides his bicycle almost daily. “And having protected lanes helps a lot because the only accident I ever had was from a car door opening, so I feel safer.”
Despite the new logos and paint, the lanes can still be confusing to drivers who still drive and park in them, which risks a $45 ticket.
Department of Public Works Director Ron Brundidge said the agency usually budgets about $150,000 per mile for all improvements related to installing protected bike lanes. Creating a non-protected bike lane costs about $20,000 per mile.
Brundidge said the work is paid out of city or state transportation funds or grants.
The director said a trip he took to Denmark influenced his ideas about city cyclists.
“One thing that stood out was recognizing that the development of a safe, efficient, comprehensive biking network has a tremendous impact on the numbers of people who will actually choose to bike as an optional means of transportation,” Brundidge said.