San Franciscan cyclists will soon have an edge over automobile traffic thanks to a new elevated bicycle lane in the city’s Mission District. Planned for Valencia Street, the six-foot-wide bike path will be raised two inches above traffic, giving cyclists a safer space to ride. The slight elevation will help prevent motorists from drifting into bike lanes, keeping cyclists safer.
The elevated pathway will soon begin construction, overseen by San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency, as a step to prevent bicycle injuries. The first raised path will be built along the southern area of the Mission District on Valencia Street, a highly trafficked area prone to accidents. The path itself will be raised just two inches above street level, and stretch six feet wide of riding area, plus a five foot buffer zone to ensure extra safety. This slight elevation will differentiate the bike lane from the city street, and the pedestrian sidewalk, which is raised several more inches.
Raised bike lanes have long been the norm in Europe, where bicycle transportation is much more popular. By simply raising the path by a few inches, cyclist’s safety is greatly increased, without having to install barriers, planters or cones which in effect take up riding (and driving) space.
The first installation of the raise bike lane will only stretch for one block, but city officials hope to spread the protective bike lanes to areas in San Francisco with high rates of bicycle injuries in the future.
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