Protected Bike Lanes Deliver Numerous Benefits, Study Says. But Is it Enough to Change State Law?

Advocates in Philadelphia are pushing state lawmakers to finally pass a law to make it easier to install protected bike lanes on state routes.

2 minute read

April 13, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Protected Bike Lane

Paul Krueger / Wikimedia Commons

Sophia Schmidt reports from Philadelphia, where a recent study into the benefits of protected bike lanes are giving local planners ammunition in their support for a proposed state law that would make it easier to build robust bike infrastructure on state routes.

“There are currently around 20 miles of protected bike lanes in the city, including parking-separated bike lanes,” according to an expert cited in the article. “But state law makes it difficult for the city to install these bike lanes on state routes that are maintained by PennDOT — which are often where they’re needed most.”

H.B. 140 would make it easier for the city to install protected bike lanes on state routes, but the bill is currently stalled in the state senate after passing the Pennsylvania House unanimously last year. The bill is also only the latest attempt, after a string of failures, to pass similar laws.

This time around, however, advocates can call on the evidence supplied by a recent report on the outcomes of a city pilot project.

In a pilot project launched in 2018, city and PennDOT officials installed parking-separated bike lanes on 10 state routes in the city, including Market Street, JFK Boulevard, Race Street in Center City, and the Chestnut Street Bridge. They’ve also evaluated case studies in peer cities, which showed parking-separated bike lanes increase perceived safety and comfort for cyclists, according to a report written by transportation consultant Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

Findings of the report include a 20 percent reduction in crashes, a 6 percent reduction of vehicle speeds, no increase in congestion, and, perhaps most strikingly, a 96 percent increase in bike trips.

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