Safety bollards have remained a trusted way to further protect bike lanes for many years because they add a solid barrier between automobiles and cyclists, among other benefits.
Are Protected Bike Lanes Really Safer?
Many bike lanes around the US lack a bollard or other form of protection – instead, they rely on painted lines to mark where bike lanes begin and end. While this is sufficient for some streets, adding protected bike lanes is proven to increase safety considerably.
Bollards are a common choice for protecting bike lanes, but they are not the only option. Planters, parked cars, or curbs are other forms of protected bike lanes.
For many years, America’s bike lanes lacked this key form of protection. Between 2012 and 2016, peopleforbikes.org operated the Green Lane Project to help cities around the U.S. build protected bike lanes. They note several reasons why protected bike lanes are better –
- According to documented academic research, people want to bike more but are concerned for their safety, so they do not. Protected bike lanes make cyclists feel safer and therefore encourage more people to ride bikes instead of driving.
- Other countries, such as Copenhagen, have made bike-friendly cities out of places that were once heavily reliant on automobiles by installing protected bike lanes.
- While protected bike lanes help improve safety across the board, the greatest level of protection comes from solid barriers such as rigid bollards and planters.
4 Benefits of Bollards for Protected Bike Lanes
Bollards add more safety than other types of separated bike lanes simply because they offer a strong and sturdy barrier between vehicles and cyclists. Peopleforbikes.org rates striped buffers a 2 out of 5 in terms of protection level, while rigid barriers score a 5 out of 5 in terms of safety.
It makes perfect sense if you think about it – a striped lane or even a small bump in the road is not going to prevent a car from swerving into a bike lane, nor will it stop a cyclist from moving into motor vehicle lanes. On the other hand, a solid bollard, or any type of solid structure that separates cyclists and vehicle lanes, offers that extra layer of protection.
Light the Way
Many bollards, including TerraCast’s, come with the option to add lighting elements on top to further increase the safety of cyclists. Plus, it allows people to cycle after dark with greater comfort and safety. There are also aesthetic benefits to adding bollards with lighting details.
Makes Bikers Feel Safer & Encourages More Cyclists to Get Out and Ride
When cyclists do not feel safe riding their bikes on certain roads, many will opt out of doing so. Adding bollards and other forms of protected bike lanes has been proven to increase feelings of safety amongst cyclists, encouraging more people to bike instead of drive.
Bollards for Contraflow Bike Lanes
There is a growing trend in the bike lane world – adding contraflow bike lanes that allow cyclists to travel in the opposite direction of automobiles. This can present additional risks to bikers, hence why it is important to add safety bollards to contraflow lanes. This is especially beneficial in cities where there are a lot of one-way streets.
Contraflow bike lanes offer several key benefits:
- Grants cyclists the chance to safely move with the flow of traffic
- Makes it easier and safer for cyclists to access popular destinations
- Reduces the number of conflicts or accidents between motorists and cyclists
- Decreases the distance cyclists must travel to reach the same destination
- Opens up more ideal travel access to cyclists without getting in the way of motor vehicle traffic
To make everyone safer out on the roadways, it is recommended that contraflow bike lanes are only applied under certain circumstances. These conditions include:
- On streets with lower levels of motor vehicle traffic
- Where there is enough space to add proper signage to warn drivers that contraflow lanes are in use
- In areas where there is adequate space to install a contraflow lane on the left-hand side of motor vehicle travel
- On streets where a substantial number of cyclists regularly frequent
- In areas where there are limited instances of intersecting driveways, alleys, or streets.
Safety bollards make contraflow bike lanes a reality by adding greater visibility to the presence of these lanes. Thanks to their sturdy construction, they block cars from entering into bike lanes. In addition, it makes cyclists feel safer while using bike lanes and encourages more people to get out and bike instead of driving automobiles. Bollards also remind cyclists to remain within their designated lane, keeping both motorists and cyclists safe.
Bollards by TerraCast
At TerraCast Products, we offer a variety of bollard styles and are always happy to create custom bollards to fit the needs of your city. Our bollards are made tough – they are non-porous, non-hydroscopic, fully airtight and resistant to water infiltration. Learn more or shop our complete collection