As we see happening across Canada, in the USA protected bike lanes have proven themselves to the point where they became federal policy in May of 2015.
Back in 2013, the Federal Highway Administration ordered a study of protected bike lanes across the USA, seeking to quantify the benefits and best practices. This was done in response to 88% of cities surveyed who wanted more uniform design guidance for protected bike lanes they were installing or planning. As this article relates, “The federal request [was] unabashed in its assumption that when physically separated green lanes are built correctly, they will often — as in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark — be safer.
That two year study resulted in unequivocal evidence leading to the publication of the FHWA’s “Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide“.
During that same time period, independent academic research conducted extensive surveys of road situations, traffic situations and people in several US cities, with a variety of separated bike lanes, and verified the gains in both safety and increases in cycling activity. This is explored further in this post, along with a similar Canadian study.
The US experience was incorporated into the background work done in creating the Ontario Traffic Manual – Book 18 “Cycling Facilities”, to which our implementations must be compliant.