If you want to encourage cycling in cities, separated bike lanes are key, say cycling advocates. While hard-core riders are happy to mix it with motorized traffic, inexperienced cyclists want the safety and predictability of paths protected by plant-pots or bollards, or–better–paths that are several feet from the road.
And, in fact, safety isn’t the only reason why separation makes sense. Air quality could be another good incentive. A new study finds that bike paths are significantly less polluted than lanes painted on the road, especially when there’s distance and some vegetation as part of the protection.