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Protected Intersection Design for Bicycles

This is a good example of:

Reconfiguring existing infrastructure for bicycles, cars and pedestrians


Protected Bike Lanes, also called cycle tracks, use physical treatments like curbs, bollards, planters, or parking to buffer bicyclists from moving cars. However, the separation ends at intersections. Cities all over the world are experimenting with extending the protection through intersections.

Current intersections, designed for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists, tend to mix the modes, using striped crosswalks and some improvements like raised pedestrian refuges.  The concept of protected intersection design extends the separation and brings better visibility for all travelers and modes.

The four main elements of a protected intersection include:

  • Corner Refuge Island – An island brings the protective barrier from the bike lane into the intersection, like a curb extension for bicyclists.
  • Forward Stop Bar for Bicyclists – the stop bar (painted line indicating where a car/bike should stop) for autos is placed behind that for bicyclists, increasing the visibility of bicyclists.
  • Setback for bike and pedestrian crossing – instead of running alongside auto traffic, the bike lane bends away from the intersection, creating  a setback bicycle and pedestrian crossing
  • Phased Bicycle Signals – signals are phased to give bicyclists lead time in crossing; this is also a practice for “Walk/Don’t Walk” signals that give pedestrians several seconds to begin crossing before autos get the green light to proceed.

Key Quote:

"It doesn't matter how safe and protected your bike lane is if intersections are risky, stressful experiences." Nick Falbo

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Nick Falbo, Alta Planning + Design

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