Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Bike Lanes pay for themselves.
The installation and upkeep of bike lanes, often seen as an unnecessary expenditure of municipal funds, actually pay for themselves in reduced maintenance costs for damage caused by automobiles, according to a recent study funded by the Washington D.C.-based bike lane lobby group Bike-Walk America.
Every year, thousands of street signs, poles, and fire hydrants have to be replaced because they have been run over by careless and hostile automobile drivers. Simply by striping in 3' bike lanes (the preferred size in BWA bike-friendly communities like Austin, Texas), at a cost of only $20,000 per lane mile (plus annual maintenance costs of up to $5,000 per lane mile), motorists would no longer be able to hit street fixtures. The costs for the bike lanes would be easily offset by never again having to replace street signs, meter posts, and fire hydrants. Not only do cities become bike friendly by installing bike lanes, they become sign and hydrant friendly, too, and coincidentally, more fiscally responsible in these lean economic times.
"The logic is inescapable," says BWA executive director Clark Wallabees.