Following a two-month pilot program, advisory bike lanes are here to stay along Vail Valley Drive from the Ford Park Soccer Field lot to Sunburst Drive – at least for another season. The Vail Town Council has authorized continuation of the lanes for next year after receiving an update on the pilot program from the town engineer. Traffic and compliance counts showed over 90% user compliance; speed studies showed 85 percentile speeds of 23 mph at golf course hole 4 and 28 mph at the soccer field (both were slightly under speed studies conducted the previous year). Surveys from bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers showed support for the lanes, with drivers slightly less favorable than bicyclists and pedestrians.
Advisory bike lanes are striped shoulder bike lanes that allow for two-way vehicular traffic to share a narrowed single center lane while pedestrians and cyclists utilize the bike lanes on each side separated from vehicular traffic by dashed lines. The center lane is only wide enough for one vehicle, requiring vehicles to yield and move over to the right into the advisory bike lane, yielding to pedestrians and cyclists when an on-coming vehicle is approaching. The roadway configuration originated in the Netherlands where they have over 50 years of experience with this practice and is now gaining traction in the United States.
When traveling along this section of Vail Valley Drive, travelers are advised to stay alert for the advisory bike lanes and maintain the posted speed limit of 15 mph.