Check out the transformation that took place at the Sands Street approach to the Manhattan Bridge in New York City. What used to be a dangerous road for bikers has been turned into a NYC-first -- a physically separated two-lane bike path.

Streetfilms reports that the improved bike lane has boosted the number of cyclists using the bridge from 800 to more than 2,600 each day. Those are serious numbers to celebrate and disseminate. Growth in the cyclist population will naturally follow the installation of proper bike infrastructure and more city planners need to hear about great projects like this.

A bike lane isn't a bike lane unless a 5-year-old can ride her bike on it. A stripe of paint and three feet of space running shoulder to shoulder next to a regular road isn't a proper bike lane -- it's a small, dangerous bone tossed to the biking community by Department of Transportation designers who always put the automobile first.

The otherwise awesome city of Portland, Maine, where I live, has terrible bike lanes. Where they exist at all, they run unprotected next to thundering cars. They often peter out without warning, the single bike lane line running into the curb or just ending. There's no cohesion between the city's bike lanes, no master plan behind it all. There are certain areas in town that are very difficult to traverse on a bike, necessitating heart-pounding and well-timed dashes across roads or long and circuitous detours along less dangerous roads. Most American cities are no better; many are, in fact, worse.

There's a lot of work to be done on this front.

Here are a few fun bike posts from around MNN:

The stupidest bike lanes in the U.S.

Bicycle parking would entice more people to ditch their cars

Bike culture revitalizes NYC communities

Biking in the U.S. vs. Amsterdam

[Streetfilms] via [Treehugger]

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Now THIS is a bike lane
New York City just built a beautiful bike lane that's more than tripled the number of cyclists using the Manhattan Bridge every day.