As cities worldwide are plagued with increasingly congested streets, more people are turning to bicycles to ease their commute. To accommodate the trend, bike lanes have been popping up around cities, yet often in a disjointed manner. A series of maps compiled by the Washington Post illustrates this surprisingly sporadic cycle infrastructure in several US cities.
Cropping up as afterthoughts in the existing urban fabric, many US bicycle networks consist of fragmented stretches of bike lanes and “sharrows” (shared car and bike lanes) loosely bound together by their proximity. In the case of Washington D.C., most of these are under a mile in length. A lack of cohesion and continuity leads to commuter chaos, forcing cyclists onto unprotected shoulders or into traffic when their designated lanes pull a disappearing act. Take a look at the maps after the break.
The maps below illustrate the street grid of designated cyclist zones in Washington D.C., Miami-Dade County, and Seattle. They are based on the latest data obtained from each city, and highlight streets that are marked for bicycle use, including bike lanes, bike right-of-ways, and sharrows.
Despite the difference in location, the glaring problem of discontinuity remains the same. If bicycle infrastructure is to reach its full potential, cities should strive for a cohesive, navigable network rather than an assemblage of separate parts.