12 Jan Rise of the Protected Intersection- How it is Driving the Bike Industry
Pic via SF Bike
New bike intersections and lanes have drastically improved the number of avid cyclists in the past few years. While biking is an obvious solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving citizens’ overall health, over half of all races claimed they were concerned for their safety when riding around other motor vehicles. This study conducted by peopleforbikes.org, showed that 65% of adults in the South and 54% of adults in the Midwest share the same concern.
Graph via ggwash.org
The effect this will have in future industry wellbeing is dramatic. Good infrastructure will be a permanent contributor to the popularity of the bicycle industry. Fortunately, the U.S. has built 12 protected bike intersections, in the past 2 years, with the latest launching in Berkley and San Francisco, CA. These were first designed for U.S. integration by the Dutch blogger, Mark Wagenbuur, in 2011 and our country’s number of protected intersections can be seen doubling every eight months since then.
The future bike lanes in the U.S. holds to be promising as well. A review panel selected by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials met to review and draft a new bike guide to include designs of bike lanes and shared paths and wayfinding for bicycles. If their appointed panel approves their guide, the AASHTO members will vote upon its approval in 2017.
In local communities, Congress approved funding for the “Safe Routes to School” programs in 2005 in order to reverse rapidly rising rates of childhood obesity and inactivity. This Safe Routes to School program is maintained for federal funding through the 2012 federal transportation bill and aims to design safe and fun opportunities for children to bike or walk to school.
The continuous and ongoing government support for safe bicycling infrastructure and protected intersections will continue to spark surges in bike commuting rates. According to the Southwest Journal, the Twin Cities has one of the largest population of women’s cyclists due to recent improvements in public infrastructure. While overall bike commuting rates doubled within 2007-2016, per recent findings from the Bicycling and Walking Benchmarking Report of 2016.
As biking continues to be a potential benefactor for people’s overall health and our carbon footprints, the future of bicycle facilities and intersections will greatly affect and help determine our future bicycle commuting rates.