Many cyclists across the city protested the redesigning of Seattle’s 35th Avenue NE. They claim that the new design only leaves cyclists more vulnerable to serious accidents. And it seems those concerns are valid, especially after recent accidents that left a bicyclist seriously injured and a motorcyclist dead.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) maintains that the redesign is not the issue in these accidents, but many cyclists disagree.
The new redesign eliminated bike lanes
Biking is a popular form of transportation across Seattle. However, that did not stop the new design of 35th from eliminating bike lanes from the plan.
The Seattle Times reports that there is one lane in each direction, with one center turn lane. These lanes leave cyclists with limited space. So, many motorists aggressively pass bicyclists, which puts both the cyclists and other motorists at risk.
Businesses v. bicyclists
The main issue that eliminated the bike lanes stemmed from many local business’ protests that bike lanes would reduce street parking and hurt their businesses in the long run.
While this may be a valid concern for business owners, the concerns for the safety and lives of cyclists is arguably more important.
What are the benefits of bike lanes?
There is no doubt that bicycle lanes help reduce bicycle accidents, and therefore injuries. However, various studies report that bicycle lanes actually make the roads safer for the community.
For example, both AARP and the Journal of Transport & Health conducted studies that found bicycle lanes provided many benefits, including:
- Making sidewalks safer for pedestrians
- Decreasing congestion on the road
- Reducing dangerous emissions
So, bike lanes help keep the entire community safer, not just bicyclists.
Seattle City Council challenging the decision
According to The Seattle Times, the City Council shares bicyclists’ concern regarding the lack of bike lanes. They are challenging SDOT and Mayor Jenny Durkan to change the design and help increase safety on 35th for all people on the road.