The city of South Bend has joined a host of other cities, including Indianapolis and Chicago in painting bike lanes green. The green paint was first endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2011 and has received wide acceptance among traffic officals throughout the country. In some cities, entire lanes have been painted green, such as Los Angeles (pictured below). The FHWA researched colored pavement for several years, and in the approval memo stated that “…bicyclists and motorists both have a positive impression of the effect of the green colored pavement, with bicyclists saying that they feel safer when the green colored pavement is present, and motorists saying that the green colored pavement gives them an increased awareness that bicyclists might be present and where those bicyclists are likely to be positioned within the traveled way.
In South Bend, implementation of the new concept has been modest, with a pilot project on Jefferson near the center of the downtown district. South Bend’s use of the green lane is typical of most cities, in that it highlights an area for extra vigilance on the part of both motorist and cyclists. The Jefferson Avenue location features a shared area where right turning motorist are migrating over a bike lane.
“This green-painted bicycle lane represents yet another advance within the South Bend Bikeway,” says Chris Dressel, the City’s Bicycle Coordinator. “While serving to emphasize the responsibility of motorists and bicyclists to share the road, these lanes enhance safety and are another step towards encouraging more purposeful bicycle trips in and around South Bend.”
South Bend was named as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists in 2010. That designation, the first for any community in Northern Indiana, was renewed in 2012. The South Bend Bikeway, the City’s network of bicycle routes, spans more than 63 miles, with long-term plans to add 40 miles.