South Bay cities improve bike lanes to increase public safety

CUPERTINO, Calif. (KGO) -- In Cupertino, construction signs went up on Monday to inform residents of the first day of work on the city's new bike lane project.

The city is looking to move the sidewalk back five to seven feet on McClellan Road, beginning at Stelling Road, to expand the current bike lanes. The new lanes will also have dividers to keep cars out.

RELATED: More designated bike lanes coming to San Jose

The city says it's necessary, especially considering how many kids use the bike lanes to get to nearby schools.

"I'm completely glad. It's needed," says resident Dmytri Valsko.

Valsko takes his young daughter to school every morning, both of them on bikes. Even with the current bike lane, he says it can be hard to navigate the narrow path with all the traffic.

"I don't feel safe. I will feel better if it were separated so we can travel to school safer. So, it's a nice idea," he says.

Meanwhile, San Jose is celebrating the first year of its bike program.

RELATED: Cyclists demand safer streets and protected bike lanes from Folsom to Howard

The city put in 10 miles of new bike lanes in the downtown. City officials say since then, pollution is down, along with the number of traffic accidents involving bicyclist.

Last year, there were close to 50 fatalities on city streets. There have been zero accidents since the new bike lanes went in, according to Jessica Zenk, the Deputy Director of Transportation for San Jose.

"On the downtown streets, where the people who are biking are separate from moving traffic by parked cars and ballards, you see nationally that those are nine times as safe as a street without those bicyclist facilities," explains Zenk.

San Jose is also getting national recognition for its bike program. Groups from over 40 cities are in town to learn about what the city has been able to do to reduce the number of accidents, and for being able to do so in such a short amount of time.

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