Kerbside protected bike lanes

Kerb-side protected bike lanes

Kerb-side lanes are considered international best practice and have been widely in use overseas for decades, including in Europe, New York and Australia.

From the Janette Sadik-Khan (New York Transport guru) presentation in Auckland, May 2014:


Some experience from overseas, via Adelaide City Council:

  • Melbourne (Swanston Street): Implemented kerb-side separated bike lanes resulted in 80% of riders feeling safer due to the separation from motor vehicles, and 45% of riders ride more often as a result of the treatment (VicRoads 2007).
  • Melbourne (La Trobe Street): Implemented kerb-side bike lanes in June 2013 by reducing four traffic lanes to two lanes on La Trobe Street that is used by 20,000 vehicles per day . By February 2014 the  number of cyclists doubled in the morning peak to 380 per hour and trebled in the PM peak to 335 per hour. Motor vehicle travel times temporarily increased immediately after the bike lanes were introduced but have now returned to pre-bike lane times.
  • New York (Grand Avenue): Implementing kerb-side separated bike lanes resulted in a 29% increase in ridership, and a 27% reduction in injuries to all street users (drivers, bike riders and pedestrians).
  • Frome Street, Adelaide (photo by Treadlie)treadlie-fromest

And here’s what they look like in The Netherlands. This route (dating from 1960’s/70s) goes right by a large high school with 2400 students.

Den Bosch zuid, kerbside lanes at 2’33”

Images created on Streetmix as a guide only - not to scale.
Images created on Streetmix as a guide only – not to scale.

‘Kerbside’ bike lanes – bike lanes are between the footpath (‘kerb’) and parked cars – Also known as ‘Copenhagen-style lanes‘.


  • cyclists are protected from moving traffic

  • suitable for cyclists of all abilities, including children

  • small physical buffers prevent cars from crossing into cycle lane, but are suitable for emergency vehicles to cross

  • limited loss of parking, except possibly near intersections

  • up to 40% safer for all road users (including pedestrians and drivers)
  • fewer cyclists riding on the footpath (even those legally allowed, i.e. kids)


  • May take some getting used to, especially for people parking and crossing the lane

  • still some risk of being car ‘doored’ but much less (research indicates as few as 1 in 5 cars have passengers)
  • If the lane isn’t wide enough, it may be difficult for faster cyclists to overtake slower riders, which could result in them using the traffic lane instead.

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