Bike lanes have arrived in Indianapolis!!

The first of what is hoped to be many more bike lanes have been striped on New York and Michigan Streets in downtown Indianapolis  The bike lanes are 5+ miles running east/west and connecting the White River with Ellenberger Park.  Bicycle commuting in Indianapolis is now easier with an east-west corridor to downtown and downtown residents now have a straight shot to explore the Irvington area by bike. 

These bike lanes are the first of a large, visionary plan, Indy BikeWays, to transform Indianapolis into a bicycle friendly city by providing 200+ miles of bike lanes throughout Indianapolis.  For more information about the plan and vision, visit www.IndyBikeWays.org.  More bike lanes are slated to be installed on Allisonville Road later this year. 

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has embraced the plan and will be holding the inaugural Mayor’s Bike Ride on May 16th to highlight the new bike lanes.  Info and Registration for this free event is at www.healthbydesignonline.org

While this is exciting, as with anything new, it will take some education of bicyclists and motorists on how to deal with this new feature.  For motorists, this means looking in side mirrors before exiting their parked cars where there is a bike lane beside it and checking for bikes in the bike lane when turning or crossing the bike lane to make a right turn. For bicyclists, this means riding defensively, recognizing the need to stay far enough away from parked cars to avoid getting doored and being aware of motorists as they try to negotiate turns that cross bike lanes. 

While these bike lanes may be new thing for Indianapolis, bike lanes have been around in communities across the country for more than 40 years.  I grew up in a town (Champaign-Urbana, IL) that had little bike highways throughout the University of Illinois campus.  Boulder, CO has bike lanes on 95% of their major roads.  Chicago has 100 miles of bike lanes.

I personally like bike lanes – it’s the ONLY place where bicyclists ride where we don’t have to share. Bike lanes are for bikes only.   Bicyclists have to share roads with cars and share trails with hikers, horses, walkers, runners, rollerbladers, etc.  And bike lanes are a visible sign 24/7/365 that bikes belong on the road.

There are many good things happening for bicycling in Indianapolis; bike lanes are just one of the more visible signs that Indianapolis is becoming more bicycle friendly.  Stay tuned for more…