Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
Bicycling

Dashed bike lanes: Better than nothing, or total trash?

New dashed bike lanes on Armitage Avenue in Logan Square. Photo: Michael Burton

There's an increasingly popular slogan and hashtag among bike advocates, "Paint is not protection." It's basically a factually true statement: Bikeways that consist of road markings, with no three-dimensional barrier or grade separation between people driving and folks on bikes, do not physically prevent the former from striking the latter.

Here in Chicago, the catchphrase is regularly used by advocates ranging from fairly left-leaning folks like the person who runs the Milwaukee Avenue Bike Lane Twitter account, to the relatively non-radical, Chicago Department of Transportation-friendly Active Transportation Alliance. The implication is that when city officials install paint- or thermoplastic-only bikeways, they're short-changing bike riders, generally due to the officials lacking the guts to take more space away from motorists.

Or do they represent a depressing surrender to car culture, when city officials should be doing whatever it takes to provide physically protected or grade-separated bikeways on retail streets? Judging from the responses to the above tweet today, many local bike advocates take the latter position.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

We are all in an underperforming Chicagoland transit network. But some of us are looking at the Star:Line.

According to Star:Line Chicago, "The 2034sight Plan is an ambitious — and achievable — ten-year framework to lay the groundwork to modernize Chicagoland’s existing local passenger rail system."

July 19, 2024

A semi driver fatally struck a person walking on Lower Wacker Drive. Did a locked gate contribute to the crash?

The victim may have been walking in the street because a gate limiting pedestrian access on the south side of Wacker was locked at the time.

July 19, 2024

This is Grand! CDOT cuts ribbon on new protected bike lanes on a key West Side diagonal street

The project also has lots of other nifty Complete Streets features, like raised crosswalks, bus islands, and the conversion of a dangerous slip lane to a new plaza.

July 18, 2024
See all posts