In an attempt to see if protected bike lanes will increase bicyclists’ safety, Anchorage has opened a pilot project along Pine Street and McCarrey Street. The goal is to learn how the experimental lanes might be implemented citywide.

Completely funded through the Federal Highway Administration, the trial run includes a “vertical element” that physically separates the bike lane from vehicle lanes.
The pilot study runs through September, and includes a Sept. 9 ceremony, 10 a.m., at Russian Jack Springs Park. A team will be on hand to intercept surveys in order to gather data for cyclists and pedestrians for future pilot projects around Anchorage.

Protected bike lanes have been growing in popularity around the nation, but they are not without controversy.

It is still unclear how a protected bike lane would hold up in Anchorage during the long winter months which can include heavy snow and frequent snow plowing.

A 2022 article in Forbes noted that the main problem with bike lanes is the impossibility of structuring bike lanes without vehicles turning into these lanes to get to underground garages, above-ground parking lots, and to make right or left turns at intersections.

Industrial engineer John Forester described the problem in detail in his popular book, Effective Cycling,. There he estimates that accidents on bicycle lanes are 2.6 times higher than on traditional roadways, because bicycle lanes are more fundamentally hazardous.

As cities expand bike lanes, Forester predicts there will be more, not less, vehicle-bike collisions because it’s hard to make intersections between cycle lanes and roads as safe as normal roads. Problems largely surface when cyclists either fail to follow the traffic rules or motorists turn into cyclists.

Forester has been particularly critical of California’s bike lane plans.

“Nobody with traffic-engineering training could believe that [bikeway] designs that so contradicted normal traffic-engineering knowledge would produce safe traffic movements,” Forbes quoted Forester. “If these designs had been proposed for some class of motorized traffic—say, trucks or motorcycles—the designers would have been considered crazy.”

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 41,615 U.S. bicycle injuries in 2021, along with 966 fatalities. While fatalities were up considerable over the past decade, injuries in 2021 were down by about 6,000 when compared to the 10-year average.

The average age of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes was 49 in 2021 with 86% being male. Similarly, 81% of bicycle injuries were among males.

The vast majority (85%) of bicycle traffic fatalities occurred in urban areas in 2021, with 29% happening at intersections and 9% at roadsides, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and other sites.

In Alaska, 3% of total traffic fatalities were bicyclists. This amounted to two deaths.

It is still unclear how a protected bike lane would hold up in Anchorage during the long winter months which can include heavy snow and frequent snow plowing. The September trial run will likely conclude before there is any measurable snowfall in the city.

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Anchorage launches experimental bike lane to see if cyclists will be any safer

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Neil says:

    What a waste of time and money. I have to say the protection barrier is the only way up here with the drunks and high people on the roads. Nobody stays in their own lane anymore. I just said this to friends. Yes in winter what you going to do with them? They don’t roll up and put them away. Yes we should spend millions more for a user group. That’s insane. How about we do something for the homeless and veterans on the streets? That is something that is important. It’s obvious whoever came up with this hair brained idea has no concern for their other human beings only themselves! Pull your head out and smell tge coffee!

  • Jen says:

    It should be on A street heading into town for more accurate results. It’s busier, a busier street be better not a neighborhood street where the speed limit is 25.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    I doubt such a lane would be used a whole lot during the winter. Such lanes are all over the country. A good driver is vigilant with awareness of their surroundings. Use your mirrors and you should see bikes, pedestrians and motorcycles. And if you can’t see then don’t go. Simple. I used to road bike though and always used extreme caution assuming drivers might not see me. It takes both, vigilant attentive bikers and drivers.

  • Steve P Peterson says:

    I have found bicyclists to be arrogant and expectant that everyone accommodate them. I believe a large portion of bicycle accidents are caused by that attitude. I ride motorcycles and find that many bikers have that same attitude that the rules do not apply to them

    • Jen says:

      It’s only a matter of time an arrogant self centered right of way cyclist or motorcyclist gets hit. Don’t follow rules and get hit. It’s pain and suffering when people are more likely to hear how much they need God and rely on Him. I don’t condemn the cyclist or Motorcyclist living recklessly cause I see if they get hurt may be the best accident for their soul though they are a quadriplegic.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    This is going to be a freaking disaster. 15 minute cities just minutes away from Alaska!

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Your a bike not a car, get off the roadway.
    If you want to ride with the cars act like a car. Not cry to the government to paint blue lines on the roadways for you to ride in.

  • Chuck Anziulewicz says:

    There was a time during the George W. Bush administration when gasoline prices spiked, and I decided to purchase a Trek hybrid road bicycle. It was good for my health, good for the environment, and it saved me a ton of money when I used it to commute to work whenever the weather was nice. In many cities, investing in a cycling infrastructure is considered a quality-of-life issue. But you make it sound like environmental extremism.

  • Dee Cee says:

    I was a bike commuter in Eugene Oregon when I was in college and a member of a triathalon team. i biked on the road a lot. And then I did another round of college in Oahu, where I also biked with a triathalon team. It is true that bike lanes are fundamentally unsafe. The bike lane puts the cyclist in the drivers blind spot. While it is not perfect, it is best to get in the center of the correct lane where drivers can see you and ARE LOOKING when they turn. If you learn to signal, are strong enough to go the speed limit, follow traffic laws just like a car, and are visible to the driver, it is actually much safer. I think the biggest thing that made bike commuting safe in Eugene was the fact that everyone knew to “share the road” a law in Oregon for decades. Bike commuting in Hawaii was basically impossible. I rode exclusively on sidewalks except when riding in a pack with my team—and the men’s team even had an accident once where one car took the whole team out. Finally, I bike commuted in anchorage before my kids were born. I was always grateful that I could minimize my time on the road because fully separated bike paths go everywhere in this city. In my opinion, it’s the safest design for bike commuting of the three examples.

    • AppleTree says:

      Sadly, I think many of the bike paths in Anchorage are now inundated with citizens who have no respect for the law. Or sobriety, or public safety. Perhaps that’s why there’s a push to establish bikes routes elsewhere? Or, it’s another segway into a “15 minute city,” the darling notion of our Socialist overlords.

  • John J Otness says:

    Direct Energy Weapons coming to a theatre near you…

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I think that you are correct John. I wonder if the bolt of lightening from a storm that hung out over the Mat-Su Valley for two hours (unusual!) that struck the motel roof across the hwy from Kendall Ford was a direct energy test. That storm, in itself, was unusual and for it to hang out over the valley for two hours or more was something that I have never seen here in the valley in my 30+ years of living here. Del Bigtree is discussing modification with Dane Wigington here recently.

  • AppleTree says:

    “It is still unclear how a protected bike lane would hold up in Anchorage during the long winter months which can include heavy snow and frequent snow plowing”

    This was my thought when I began reading the article. How will they be maintained or even visible 9 months out of the year?

  • Matthew Mills says:

    Hey Joel,
    I’m a 4-season Anchorage bike commuter, staunch conservative, 24-year veteran and very traditional Christian. I’d like to leave you with two things today:
    First my $0.02 on Pine Street: It’s already a great place to ride, and we probably don’t need bollards to keep it that way. The traffic is generally slow and local; it doesn’t get busy and I’ve never been hassled there. There are two things that need work on Pine Street though: cars parked in the cycling lane, and the broken glass, rocks, auto parts etc. close to the curb. Because of those things I’ve often rode exactly where they put the bollards, but if they keep cars from parking there, it will be a wash. (I like John Forester’s book btw, but he died in 2020.)
    Second, utility cycling isn’t a progressive vs. conservative proxy fight. There’s nothing left-leaning about being self-reliant, fit, strong or frugal (and there’s nothing conservative about being fat or driving a truck designed, built and marketed by a huge ultra-woke globalist corporation. ) They are both just ways to get around with plusses and minuses.
    And one bonus point: If your readers are going to vent about cyclists they should probably know what the traffic laws in Anchorage (title 9) say about biking here first (unless they are trying to look ignorant).
    -Matt Mills

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      The laws pertaining bicyclists on the roads were put there by leftists working towards the agenda that we are facing now – I remember when the law was made for bicyclists. You talk a good talk, but when it comes down to the matter of safe or not safe, I can see which side of the fence you really sit on. The only people who look and are ignorant are those that feel that they have the right to be on the road riding their bikes expecting vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds more to dodge them. A dead bicyclist may have been right according to “the law,” but, how can you enjoy life when your soul is no longer on this earth? Quit soiling the image of “conservative and Christian,” by pretending to be on the side trying to keep humanity sane and safe.

      • Matthew Mills says:

        Which part of Title 9.38 do you consider anti-bicyclist or leftist? It was Dan Sullivan who appointed Chief Mark Mew, who rewrote title 9.38 in 2011. I’ve never heard either of them called a “leftists” before. (From my experience, it’s mostly the leftists who say biking is dangerous.) Regardless, if title 9 says I have “the right to be on the road riding my bike”, I do. And, as we kill very few competent, sober, adult cyclists in Anchorage these days, it seems pretty safe to me.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Senator Dan Sullivan is a Rino who walks the fence. We cannot plow the roads in a timely fashion or even keep the sidewalks cleared for pedestrians. How is a bicycle lane going to be any different? I still stand on the side that bicycles do not belong on the road because it is an accident waiting to happen. As for your comment that it’s mostly leftists who say biking is dangerous, now I know that you are not on team humanity. Like I said before, quit soiling the image of conservative and Christian by pretending to be on the side of trying to keep humanity sane and safe.

  • Richard K CORBeil says:

    How many millions did we spend on bike trails so bikes could get OFF the road?

  • Lucinda says:

    Gall dang FoH, you flummox me with your every post. You’re grammar is pathetic, your arguments feeble and reliant on the supernatural. You effervescently spin a nickel into a dime and are damn proud of the deviance.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Lucinda, why do you keep trying to incite people? You know that by doing so, you convince readers more and more that you are nothing more than a paid troll or schill.

      • Lucinda says:

        I’m offering the clear cool water of truth for your dry dusty desiccated thought process.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Lucinda, you are just a troll. Nothing that you offer is of any good. Like I have said several times, it is not too late for you to ask for forgiveness by the Creator of All Creation God Almighty.

    • More taxes, more corruption says:

      Bike lanes in Alaska are ridiculous when in the winter time our city can’t even keep up with normal plowing of the roads and sidewalks.

      Money would be better spent in maintaining the infrastructure we already have rather than experimenting with low importance issues.

      • Matthew Mills says:

        If the bike lanes aren’t plowed in the winter (like Wisconsin St.) I ride in the roads. I also use the trails once they are solid, and then doesn’t take long.
        Bike infrastructure is pretty cheap compared with roads and streets, and any subsidies for trails are truly tiny compared with federal and state road subsidies. Basically roads in the US are huge government subsidy give sways.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Well, the way that Anchorage is going Matthew, pretty soon biking or walking will be your only options and guessing from your prior posts, you would welcome getting rid of all vehicles and just biking or walking. I have lived in Alaska long enough to know that Anchorage roads can be left unplowed for two or more days depending on the amount of snowfall. I have seen sidewalks stay unplowed for weeks at a time. I have known of people who could not drive because of the amount of snow and their low-riding vehicles or vehicles without snow tires. You spin an almost convincing story…ALMOST; but, the well-seasoned Alaskans know the truth about Alaska’s winter roads.

      • Matthew Mills says:

        That’s why my car is a Jeep, and why I use studded tires on all my vehicles once the snow falls. In the dead of winter with 8” of fresh snow I can get to work on my fat-tired bike.
        The basic question remains: what is leftist about being fit and independent enough to bike to work, or conservative about being unfit and totally dependent on the government, the Arabs and big corporations to move around?

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Matthew, I did not question the desire to be fit by biking or walking. I question the sanity of demanding to be on the road on a bicycle in traffic. We try to keep our children from walking or biking on the roads because it is dangerous. We, especially, try to keep them off the roads when the roads are icy and full of snow because vehicles just flat out do not have the same control as they do when they are on dry pavement. I care just as much for adults’ safety as I do the safety of children. I, also, can see the trauma that I would suffer if my vehicle started sliding and I hit a bicyclist on the road. I would be blamed for hitting the bicyclist who insisted on being on the road when road conditions are poor. It pisses me off that I would be blamed when it is known that vehicles have less traction on snow and ice, but the government decides that it is ok for bicyclists to still ride their bikes on the roads. Like I said before, it won’t matter in
    Anchorage anyway since that town is going to become a cluster of 15-minute cities and you will only be able to walk or ride your bike. Vehicles will be for the globalists and their working minions.

    • Matthew Mills says:

      Well, so long as I’m not a commie anymore for biking to work, it’s now just a math problem.
      Drivers kill around 40,000 Americans every year, and if you measure by miles traveled, they kill cyclists at a disproportionately high rate. That is true, so from that perspective cycling is more dangerous than driving. But the numbers themselves are honestly not that bad. Basically one cyclist is killed for every 100 million miles biked. Of those, 50% are kids and there are big clusters around biking at night with no lights, biking against traffic, biking drunk or stoned, and biking on sidewalks. So for a sober, competent adult cyclist, who owns lights for their bike, the rate is considerably less than one cyclist killed per 200 million miles biked. I don’t think that’s too spooky.
      That being said there’s another perspective to have, especially for a Christian: like you, I would feel guilty if I killed a bicyclist with my vehicle, but I see that as another reason to cycle. Cyclists, on average, kill one pedestrian per year in the whole country. So by biking to work I basically have zero chance of killing another human being in a moment of inattention or bad road conditions.
      One last perspective: 700,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease every year, so 17.5 Americans are killed by fat and lazy for every one killed by a driver (about one every 33 seconds). In general we’re scared of the wrong things, and we make bad decisions.
      The left wing globalists are lying to their urbanist stooges (like the right wing globalists are lying to their social conservative stooges). There’s really just one big globalist party, and they make a lot of cars, so I wouldn’t worry about Anchorage becoming a cluster of 15-minute cities.