Arlington installed a green-painted bike lane yesterday at Military Road and Nelly Custis Drive. If weather cooperates, it will put in 4 more around the county over the next few days.

The new lane. Photo by the author.

When bikes and cars mix, the key to safety is for both bicyclists and car drivers to be aware of their surroundings, and expect to encounter each other. Therefore, the safest bike lane is one that’s highly visible, so that car drivers see it and expect cyclists to be using it.

With that in mind, progressive cities around the world have been painting bike lanes green at key locations, to make them more visible. Within the US, green painted lanes are especially common in Portland and New York.  DC has exactly one, on 15th Street, SE.

Map of all 5 of Arlington’s planned green lane locations.

The other 4 planned locations are Clarendon Blvd at 15th Street North, Wilson Blvd at Veitch Street, Lynn Street at 19th Street North, and 15th Street South across the Pentagon City Mall parking garage entrances. More could come later, at other similar conflict points.

DDOT also plans to include green paint near the intersections on the L Street bike lane, but won’t paint green at the actual point cars and bikes have to cross. They are concerned that the paint would quickly wear away with all the tires traversing that pavement.

Arlington’s lanes include green paint in spots cars will be driving. Their experience with the paint could help other jurisdictions decide whether they can be more generous with the green.

Here is a set of 11 pictures of the first one being installed.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.