Bike Lanes Don’t Make Cycling Safe

Although the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends bike lanes, other studies have reached similar conclusions to Forester and Heine, such as a 2019 analysis of bike lanes and crashes in Colorado (which includes a literature review). The author concluded that separated bike lanes raise the number of crashes by 117 percent compared with shared roadway. Separated bike tracks, which are separated from cars by a median strip, parking lane, or row of plantings, increased crashes 400 percent more than a bike lane.

In many urban settings the safest place for a bike is in the middle of a car lane, with bike lights and a helmet lamp for the rider, cycling behind vehicles rather than beside them. Naturally, cyclists have no place on urban or interstate highways. Cyclists should operate with the same rules as motor vehicles, stopping at STOP signs and traffic lights, and signaling when they turn.