Bright green bike lanes help increase driver awareness of cyclists, boost biker safety 1

With bright green bike lanes spreading across the Bay Area, the hope is that even the most oblivious drivers should start to take notice.

The freshly painted bike lanes are designed to make cyclists more visible to drivers, and are being placed primarily in areas where there’s a heavy mixture of vehicle and bike traffic. Although San Francisco already installed green bike lanes along Market and Fell back in 2010, the trend is beginning to gather momentum. And, as San Francisco’s Sustainable Streets director Bond Yee puts it, “The public reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The increasingly bike-friendly city of Portland, Oregon has already installed colored bike lanes at numerous locations and the results have been remarkable. According to a recent report, not only do cyclists feel safer, but drivers are behaving more responsibly as well. Since adding the colored bike lanes, the number of motorists yielding to cyclists jumped from 72 percent all the way up to 92 percent. Similarly, the percentage of drivers now slowing down rose from 71 to 87.

Obviously the bike lanes are having the intended effect, and in San Francisco a city traffic study shows the number of cars blocking the bike lane on Fell Street has been reduced by 40 percent since the addition of the bright green lanes.

With the positive results seeming to speak for themselves, cycling advocates across the country are pushing for more green lanes and bike boxes at intersections. Between the current expansion of these new lanes and the possible addition of a 3-foot passing law, there’s hope that California might be able to post a reduction in bicycle deaths after remaining flat for the last two years. And, with bike injuries actually on the rise (up 4.6 percent), these two initiatives couldn’t be coming at a better time.

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Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Since 1972 he has been helping seriously injured victims throughout northern California fight & win their personal injury cases. Andy is one of the top awarded & recognized wrongful death lawyers in northern California.