Over the past few years, more and more bike lanes have started popping up in big cities and even residential areas as individuals have taken to the streets to ride their bikes. If you’re a city planner or worker and want to know how to paint your bike lanes correctly, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few helpful tips and tidbits for painting bike lanes.
What is a Bike Lane?
A bike lane is a lane that is designated for bicycle riding, traveling, and commuting. As opposed to a sidewalk or trail, a traditional, designated bike lane is actually on the side of the road. It has markers, stripes, and signage that indicate the direction and location where bikes should travel. These lanes should exclusively be used by bicycles. These bike lanes give bicyclists a designated space so they can ride safely alongside cars. Cars should stay in their own respective lanes. In some areas, bicyclists can ride on sidewalks, but this can always cause issues for pedestrians. Additionally, sidewalks might not always be available in areas where bicyclists want to travel.
Why are Bike Lanes Necessary?
Bike lanes don’t only give bicycle riders a space on the road. They also protect them from potential harm or accident. Have you ever seen a biker who is trying to ride on the side of the road without coming too close to the cars driving just to their right? This is a common occurrence since not all roads have bike lanes. However, the lack of a bike lane can put the bikers in a lot of danger. For example, in 2021, nearly 1,000 bicycle riders died due to a crash with a vehicle. While these crashes aren’t always due to space on the road, having a designated biking lane can help motor vehicle drivers be more aware of the bikers since they are given additional visibility.
There are many health benefits that can come to a community as a result of adding bike lanes to their roads. Having designated, safe bike lanes can encourage community members to ride their bikes more, whether they’re commuting to work or just going for an enjoyable bike ride. Without bike lanes, community members might feel that riding their bikes around the community is too risky with so much auto traffic nearby. With increased bike lanes, people feel like they can make healthy choices by riding their bikes and spending more time exercising safely in the outdoors.
How Do I Paint a Bike Lane?
To get started painting your bike lane, you’ll need green paint and white paint. Make sure you choose an exterior paint that is weather and damage-resistant. Most paints with these qualities have some sort of resin in them. Paint with a bright sheen or even a reflective touch can really help your bike lane to pop. This is important because it will help to ensure that bike lanes and bikers are very visible on the road, no matter what time of day it might be.
The basics of your bike lane need to include striped lines that divide your lane with the automobile lane. There should also be bike logos at certain distances to indicate what the lanes should be used for. If there are areas where the bikes should stop, such as a stop sign or traffic lights, make sure you have the necessary indications so bike riders can travel and stop safely.
Once you have your hands on the appropriate type of paint, you’ll need to gather the equipment to make your bike lanes look professional and up to par with federal guidelines. You’ll need a paint sprayer, like a road line striper. There are walk-behind road line stripers that you can manually operate. There are also striping machines that can be attached to trailers or cars to make the painting go much more quickly. You’ll also need some bike stencils to create biker shapes, indicating what the lanes should be used for.
What Paint Do I Need for a Bike Lane?
You shouldn’t paint your bike lane with any type of paint. Instead, you’ll need to use white and/or green paint, depending on the layout and design of your bike lane. You might even be able to find OSHA-approved green paint for your bike lane. This type of paint will be the precise color that is usually used for bike lanes. The white paint used for stripes and logos will also have a reflective feature that will make it especially visible. If you’re looking for a high-quality paint brand, check out Vista Paint, a brand that creates long-lasting, environmentally friendly paints. Their paints are designed for outdoor surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt roads, and will last much longer than other types of paint.
What OSHA guidelines do I need to follow?
When you’re painting your bike lines, keep in mind OSHA guidelines. OSHA, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is an agency of the federal government that helps to ensure health and safety in the community and workplace. Make sure to check out their website or ask city officials near you so you know what OSHA guidelines you should follow. Here are just a few summaries of some of the OSHA guidelines that you should be following and keeping in mind.
- Have a designated biking lane that is wide enough for at least one biker to ride without being dangerously close to automobiles. You might also want to give space for bikers to pass one another.
- Add lines to indicate areas where bicycle riders should slow or stop, like for a traffic light or other traffic control device.
- Paint the lines on the borders of the bike lanes with white stripes of paint. You can also paint additional signs, such as the bicycle logo, with white. Paint the interior of the bike lane with bright green paint to give the visibility of the bike lane a boost.