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Identifying the Safest Intersection Designs for Cyclists

Researchers at Portland State hope to be the first to develop standard guidelines for protected bike lane crossings.
A new protected intersection in Vancouver.
A new protected intersection in Vancouver. Courtesy of Dylan Passmore

More than 125 years after their earliest appearances, bike lane designs can still be surprisingly arbitrary.

Nowhere is this clearer than with protected bike lanes, those cycling pathways that are separated from cars by some type of physical barrier, such as planters, curbs, parked cars or posts. Protected lanes are considered the gold standard for cyclist safety and comfort, but in most of the world, how and if they’re implemented at all is largely up to local jurisdictions. Even where protected lanes are in place, when they meet up with busy intersections, those protections typically go away, and the logic behind their design can quickly fall apart.