Four things every Chicagoan should know about protected bikeways
1. Data consistently demonstrates that protected bike lanes reduce crashes for everyone – whether you drive, walk or bike.
- Since its installation, the protected bike lane on 9th Ave. in New York City has experienced a 56 percent reduction in injuries to all street users, including a 57 percent reduction in injuries to cyclists and a 29 percent reduction in injuries to pedestrians.
- New York City; Portland, Ore.; Berkley, Calif.; Davis Calif.; and cities across Australia, Canada and Europe have found as bike ridership grows, the risk of injury or death in a crash with motor vehicles decline.
- Protected bike lanes on Allen and Pike Streets in New York City have seen a 35 percent decrease in both motor vehicle and bicycle crashes since they were installed.
2. Protected bike lanes increase the number of people on bikes while reducing congestion.
- Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie Street increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.
- Bike lanes add transportation capacity without taking much space. Most of the time they are incorporated by narrowing existing traffic lanes. In some cases, streets with high capacity and low motorized traffic are reconfigured to safely accommodate people on bikes and in cars.
3. It's good for Chicago when more people are riding bikes.
- Bike lanes help support local business. Traveling by bike encourages more frequent stops than a car. Two municipal studies conducted in Toronto and San Francisco showed that “while motorists may spend more per visit, cyclists tend to visit [local merchants] more often, are more numerous, and spend more per month.”
- Biking is also good for Chicago families. The average American household spends $8,758 per year on car payments and vehicle operating expenses – more than they spend on food. Bicyclists save around $10 daily on a ten-mile round-trip commute.
4. Riding a bike is good for your personal health.
- Data from 2008 showed that twenty-two percent of Chicago children ages 3 – 7 were obese, more than double the U.S. average.
- Adolescents who bike are 48 percent less likely to be overweight as adults.
- Adults who bike to work have better weight, blood pressure and insulin levels.
- Women who bike for more than thirty minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.