Bike Lanes Built for Two
When traveling with a friend or a young child, it’s only natural to want to move side-by-side to chat. But unfortunately, the narrow width of most bike lanes makes this uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous. To accommodate the basic human desire to travel in pairs, Danish and Dutch planners are now building bike lanes wider than the typical 5-foot ones used in the U.S.
Room to chat
In Denmark, planners now recommend 2.5 meter (8 feet) width for bikeways whenever possible. In the Netherlands, Hillie Talens, a transportation engineer with the Dutch transportation and public space organization CROW, recommends that cycle tracks (bike lanes separated from busy streets) be 2.5 to 3.5 meters (8-11 feet) wide.
(right) Dutch parents often escort young children by bike with a comforting hand on the back for support. Bicycle infrastructure that enables safe side-by-side riding is especially important for families.
(left) Bicycling is a social activity and people like to travel side by side, just as they do when walking or riding in a car. High-quality bike lanes and paths facilitate conversations between riders.