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Here’s the Case for Left Side Bike Lane and Protected Intersections

Philadelphia is installing left side bike lanes on other streets – There are 11 left side bike lanes in Philadelphia, currently, and more to come.

Other cities have successfully used left side bike lanes, including Berkeley, CA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Eugene, OR; Madison, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Naples, FL; New York City, NY; Portland, OR; Sacramento, CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC.

Read more about our position on the benefits of left-side lanes, and tonight’s meeting here. Keep scrolling for information about left-side lanes and protected intersections.

  • Reduces conflicts with buses – Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission recommended that left side bike lanes be installed to reduce conflicts between bicycles and buses.
  • Increases visibility of bicyclists – Bicyclists will be more visible riding to the left of motorists. Drivers have larger blind spots on the right side of their vehicle than the left
  • Reduces dangerous interactions – Left side bike lanes reduce the likelihood of interactions between bicyclists and motorists taking right-hand turns. Truck right turn mirror related crashes are four times more common than left.
  • Angle crashes are most prevalent type on Spruce & Pine – Between 2009 and 2016 there were 60 reported bicycle crashes on Spruce and Pine Streets between Front St and 23rd St. Thirty-seven of these crashes (61%) were angle crashes. Given the current configuration of Spruce and Pine Streets, we believe it is most likely that these angle crashes occurred when a vehicle turning right failed to see/yield to a bicyclist in their lane.

  • Spruce and Pine are among the most heavily-biked streets in Philadelphia –   Automatic counters owned by the DVRPC have counted nearly 1000 bikes a day on each street. Of the 12 intersections where BCGP bike counts take place, the six most heavily biked are along Spruce and Pine Streets
  • Protected Intersections are being considered.  The City is considering three options for adding green paint and delineator posts to protect the intersections when motorists turn left into the bike lane.

  • Transportation engineers recommend left hand bike lanes – The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recommended that a bike lanes “may be placed on the left if there are a significant number of left turning bicyclists or if a left-side bike lane decreases conflicts, for example those caused by heavy bus traffic, heavy right-turn movements, deliveries or on-street parking.”

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Topics: Featured, research, Vision Zero

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