The California Bicycle Coalition Seeks to Demystify Building Protected Bike Lanes for Californian Cities

by / August 26, 2016

Sacramento CA - This week the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) rolls out a campaign to demystify and promote a type of bike lane still relatively new to the United States but rapidly gaining favor across the country - the protected bike lane, officially called a “Separated Bikeway.” As reported in the Associated Press’s “The Big Story” on August 23rd, cities around the world are building these new, safer bike lanes which protect bicycle traffic from car traffic with a physical barrier -- usually parked cars.

These “Separated Bikeways” have been standard procedure in European countries for decades but are still rare here. While California actually leads in the number of protected bike lanes built (tracked in reporting by People for Bikes), the state is far from having enough of these protected bikeways as networked systems. The California Bicycle Coalition wants to rectify that by making it clear that this infrastructure is not only vetted and approved by Caltrans, but is both CA HDM (CA Highway Design Manual) and MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) compliant.

“Protected bike lanes are a key reason why it’s so safe, comfortable and convenient to ride a bike in cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen,” said Dave Snyder, the Executive Director of CalBike. “We can have that here too, but first we need to build them.” He further points to San Francisco, as the leader in building the most separated bikeways in the country (largely due to the awareness raising efforts of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition). The city is now working on creating networks of these lanes so that people of all ages and abilities can feel safe and comfortable riding a bike around the city.

The following California cities from North to South have already built separated bikeways: Davis, Emeryville, Oakland, San Francisco, Alameda, Modesto, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Carpenteria, Oxnard, Temple City, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Long Beach, San Jacinto, Murrieta, and Carlsbad.

To call attention to the tremendous opportunity to create safer streets for everyone across the Golden State, CalBike is contacting elected officials and Public Works Directors in the 50 largest cities across the state beginning this week. They will receive a concise 4-page brochure “Class IV Separated Bikeways: Approved for Use in California” developed in collaboration with Alta Planning & Design. The brochure demystifies the process of creating a protected bike lane, showing that Caltrans has approved the design and that they can be inexpensive to build. Any city can build them. Santa Ana partnered with youth at their local KidWorks non profit to successfully apply for grant funding for their first separated lane in an area where it’s very dangerous for kids to bike to school. The city was so inspired they went on to successfully apply for further separated bikeway funding.

“In our work planning, designing, and implementing Separated Bikeways across the country, we have seen the many positive benefits including economic, health, and safety firsthand,” said Bryan Jones, Principal of Alta Planning + Design, who helped develop the brochure. “Implementation of separated bikeways in cities throughout California will be key to the success of achieving Caltrans’ vision of tripling ridership on bicycles.”

If your city is interested in receiving the brochure  “Class IV Separated Bikeways: Approved for Use in California” please contact

Media interested in speaking to Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition, or Bryan Jones, Principal of Alta Planning + Design please contact Melissa Balmer or 562.221.9672.

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