Protected Bike Lanes

Providing the highest degree of separation among on-street bicycle facilities, a protected bike lane (sometimes referred to as a cycletrack) adds a physical barrier to protect bicycle riders from traffic. In some cases these cycle tracks are simply a buffered bike lane with posts in the buffer zone. Other examples accommodate two-way bicycle traffic in the same space. Some are even raised a few inches above the level of the street.

Protected Bike Lane Benefits

  • Dedicates and protects space for bicyclists in order to improve perceived comfort and safety
  • Eliminates risk and fear of collisions with over-taking vehicles
  • Reduces risk of ‘dooring’ compared to a bike lane and eliminates the risk of a doored bicyclist being run over by a motor vehicle
  • Prevents double-parking, unlike a bike lane
  • Low implementation cost by making use of existing pavement and drainage and by using parking lane as a barrier
  • More attractive for bicyclists of all levels and ages

Typical Applications

  • Streets with parking lanes
  • Streets on which bike lanes would cause many bicyclists to feel stress because of factors such as multiple lanes, high traffic volumes, high speed traffic, high demand for double parking, and high parking turnover. While there are no US standards for the bicyclist and motor vehicle volumes that warrant protected bike lanes, several international documents provide basic guidance 
  • Streets for which conflicts at intersections can be effectively mitigated using parking lane setbacks, bicycle markings through the intersection, and other signalized intersection treatments
  • Along streets with high bicycle volumes
  • Along streets with high motor vehicle volumes and/or speeds
  • Special consideration should be given at transit stops to manage bicycle & pedestrian interactions
  • 2-way protected bike lane Atlanta, GA