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Grating Bridges and Bicycle Safe Lanes

April 17, 2012

Chicago has 25 open metal grating bridges without bicycle friendly lanes.  Many riders feel unstable and wobbly while crossing the bridges, especially when wet.  The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has installed anti-slip metal deck plates over three open grating bridges over the past two years.  The CDOT still has 25 more bridges to tend to.

A report made by T.Y. Lin International says that metal grate bridges can be difficult and intimidating for bicyclists to cross.  Depending on the type and direction of the grating, grooves can cause a “channeling effect” or “sliding” for bike tires, and narrow tires can be lodged in gaps between the bridge grates.  In addition, the metal can become increasingly slippery when wet, making these bridges even more difficult for bicyclists to safely cross in rain or snow.

One of CDOT’s first bicycle safe lanes was Kinzie Street, which was installed in July of 2011.  This 1/2 mile protected bike lane has provided a safer route for bicyclists, acted as a traffic calming device and has encouraged riders of all ages and skill levels to enjoy bicycling.

By simply installing asphalt, concrete or slip resistant metal plates on the remaining bridges, it would cut down bicycle crashes by 50% and get more people to travel by bicycle.  Also, bicycle lanes should not only provide traction, but provide adequate room and clear sight lines.

SlipNOT® Metal Safety Flooring has provided non-slip cycle safe metal plates for a pedestrian/bicyclist walkway on Chicago’s DuSable Bridge, as well as Grosse Ile Bridge in Michigan, where ADA aluminum plank grating was installed.  These installations have helped immensely. Providing a slip resistant surface for bicycle lanes and pedestrians is extremely important.  Any bicyclist would be safe on their commute no matter what the weather holds.

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