What are Protected Bike Lanes?
A few inches of white paint don’t give cyclists much of a feeling of security and comfort on busy streets. Protected bike lanes to the rescue! Just by using curbs, planters, parked cars and simple posts, bicyclists can be clearly separated from moving vehicles. Protected bike lanes help attract a broader A range of riders, reduce the risk of car-door crashes, and add a level of predictability to make travel safer and smoother for everyone.
Westlake Protected Bike Lane
In September 2016, we opened a 1.2-mile-protected bike lane on the west side of Lake Union, connecting the Fremont Bridge and downtown Seattle/South Lake Union. Prior to this, biking options were limited to riding on a busy street, through a parking area or on a sidewalk. The Westlake protected bike lane adds predictability for all users, creating a safer, more comfortable place for people driving, walking and biking. Since opening the Westlake protected bike lane, bike ridership has doubled in the corridor.
How Did it Turn Out?
Working with the community, we were able to create a safer and smoother corridor for everyone and preserve 90 percent of the parking.
- 18 ADA pedestrian crossings
- Paving markings and rumble strips to slow bike speeds at pedestrian crossings
- Green pavement at driveways to alert people driving and biking to mixing zones
- Yellow tactile strip to designate space for people walking and people biking
Who Yields to Who?
Getting around in the new Westlake Corridor
Walking? Please walk on the sidewalk unless you’re crossing into the parking area. You are welcome to cross the protected bike lane at any point but please look for people biking as you cross.
Biking? Please ride on the protected bike lane rather than the parking area to reduce interactions with people driving. Yield to pedestrians at all crosswalks.
Driving? Please yield to people walking and biking at all driveways. Be on the lookout for newly installed stop signs, speed humps, and new one-way circulation. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
How to Stay Safe in a Protected Bike Lane
- Yield to pedestrians and wheelchair users who may be crossing the road and protected bike lane and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing
- Watch for turning vehicles when approaching intersections, driveways and alleys.
- Be alert for passing bicyclists within the bike lane and for pedestrians crossing the bike lane to access parked cars.
- Be aware that the bike lane may weave as it approaches intersections to make bicyclists more visible to motorists.
- Stay to the right and allow faster cyclists to pass safely.
- Where on-street parking is available, park in the marked parking lane between the travel lane and the bike lane.
- Take extra caution and look both ways before turning across the bike lane at intersections, driveways and alleys, especially when the barrier protected bike lane is protected by on-street parking.
- Watch for cyclists traveling in both directions in two- way protected bike lanes.
- Remember that bicyclists have the right-of-way at uncontrolled intersections, driveways and alleys.
- Don’t drive in a protected bike lane. You can turn across a protected bike lane, but you must yield to cyclists.
- Watch and listen for protected bike lane users traveling from either direction, just as you would when crossing a street.
- Cross protected bike lane at crosswalks.
- Be alert for nearby cyclists when crossing a protected bike lane to access a parked vehicle.