The Best Idea Since Protected Bike Lanes?

Urban planner proposes 'Protected Intersection' to allow for city riders 'of all ages and abilities'

Just a few years ago protected bike lanes were a rare sight in the U.S. but with their introduction, thousands more have turned to bike commuting. That number continues to grow each year and with the development of new safety measures, it’s likely that more people will to choose to cycle.

According to Portland-based urban planner and designer Nick Falbo, cities designed for cycling are happier and healthier places to live. That’s why he proposed the Protected Intersection, a concept that aims to greatly improve the safety of city riders.

Expanding an idea already used in cities abroad, Falbo sought to extend the protected bike lane into intersections, which are typically the most dangerous places for cyclists. The Protected Intersection works using four major design elements, the corner refuge island, the forward stop bar, the bicycle-friendly signal phasing and the setback bicycle crossing. The island will act as a physical buffer, the stop bar will hold cyclists at the corner (but ahead of cars for visibility) and the setback lane will ensure cyclists are away from the main flow of forward-moving traffic.

“Using these design concepts, planners, designers and engineers can bring the protection of their bike lane into the space where people need it the most and finally provide a safe place for people of all ages and abilities to ride,” said Falbo.

His design is only conceptual and he recognizes there are still kinks to work out; large trucks may not be able to turn and pedestrians, especially those with disabilities, need special consideration. Falbo produced the video for the George Mason University 2014 Cameron Rian Hays Outside the Box Competition and city cyclists everywhere are waiting to see if this idea can actually become reality in American cities.