Protected bike lanes and intersections are gaining popularity across the country and the Michigan Department of Transportation has noticed.

Many bicyclists love them, while some think the concept needs work.

Would protected bike intersections be a good fit in Grand Rapids?

Protected intersections provide separate lights and barriers for bicyclists. The video below goes into further detail of one way a protected intersection could work.

MDOT called the concept interesting and asked for input on Twitter. explains the need for protected bike intersections and says protected bike lanes are not enough:

We know that protected bike lanes are the key to getting the average person to consider traveling by bike. Sharing busy traffic lanes with cars is absolutely unacceptable and separation by a line of paint is often not enough. Protected Bike Lanes, also called cycle tracks, use curbs, planters, or parking to buffer bicyclists from moving cars. But there is still a problem; The protected bike lanes lose their benefits when they reach intersections.

Michigan's winters give us more challenges for protected intersections than some warm-weather communities might have. Clearing snow around barriers found in protected intersections is just one of many considerations.

Construction is also a major concern. It would be easier to build protected intersections in an area of new development, but that doesn't mean existing areas can't be converted as well.

I think protected bike intersections are a good idea, but the number of places where it makes sense to build them in Grand Rapids is currently limited.

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