Study: Bike lanes don’t cause severe congestion

You’ve probably heard driver reaction when a piece of the street is set aside for a bike lane: It’ll just make traffic worse.

No, it won’t.

FiveThirtyEight today examines the 45 miles of bike lanes Minneapolis added in 2010 and 2011, specifically those segments of the road where a lane for cars was removed.

During rush hour, the study found that the volume of traffic on the remaining lane(s) increased, but not to the point where it slowed down traffic.

This is an important point: Bike lanes don’t cause a lot more congestion if you put them on the right streets. If you cut down the size of streets that are already near capacity, you’ll create severe congestion. But if you start with roads that are well under capacity, you’ll only increase the congestion a little bit. And it may not even be noticeable. Slimming down these roads that are too “fat” is known as a road diet — and yes, that is the technical term.

(h/t: Jon Collins)

Related: 7 bike etiquette rules to avoid crashes and clashes (Minnesota Public Radio News).