San Jose installs first cycletrack

The city of San Jose installed its first cycle track — a protected, on road lane for the exclusive use of cyclists — along a portion of South 4th Street in downtown.

South 4th along the San Jose State University campus is a one way street. On Monday morning, contractors installed four inch rubber curbs to buffer the bike lane along the left side of the road to create a cycle track.

This photo shows the rubber curbs as they’re getting installed. Those trucks parked against the sidewalk are worker trucks. Before anybody freaks out about the “intersection” shown in this photo, that’s for Paseo de San Antonio, a pedestrian walkway. Nobody’s going to hook a cyclist in a turn at that light.

rubber curbs installed 4th street Cycletrack

These curbs help prevent motorists using the street parking from encroaching into the lane.

Although the orange construction bollards are still up, this cycle track is available for cyclists to ride in. The handicap parking space will be moved out into the street.

4th St Cycle track

Top photo from crime fighting superhero Carlos Babcock.


  1. Do you plan to run any experiments to determine if those rubber items cause diversion falls if a cyclist runs into one at a shallow angle?

  2. Those rubber barriers look a lot different than the ones in your Santa Cruz video. I would be interested to hear how they compare.

  3. the rubber protector things are interesting b/c they’re protecting bikers from…parked cars. or, if cars aren’t parked there, potentially-moving cars. i like them. i wish they were big jersey barriers instead, but i’ll take these to start.

    as for cyclists crashing, way too many people worry about hypothetical/theoretical “cyclist crashes into rubber barrier things” instead of “car crushes cyclist” things or “nobody will bike b/c there is no protection from rampaging cars” things — we need to focus on what actually matters. We can save the philosophy for the classroom.

    Another biker was just killed in Campbell. 

  4. A crash into a rubber barrier is only ‘theoretical’ until it happens. I can assure you, it will happen. It’s just a matter of time. And when it does happen, the cyclist could easily be thrown out into the street and crushed by a car.

    Instead of adding dangerous hazards to the road surface and shunting cyclists out of the traffic lane, making cyclists even less visible to motorists – all of which makes cycling much more dangerous in an effort to mitigate the tiny hazard that same direction traffic poses – why aren’t we educating cyclists and motorists to share the road?

    If cyclists are simply taught how to ride in traffic, all of this specialized cycling infrastructure can be seen for what it is – a useless and dangerous folly.

  5. Whereas in downtown San Jose, I think “car crushes cyclist” actually is only theoretical.  Peter please correct if I’m wrong about this, but I don’t recall any actual cyclist fatalities in downtown San Jose, at least not in the past decade or so. The only one that comes close was on Julian Street in November 2009. I don’t have the details but  I’m guessing it happened by the freeway ramp and was blamed on the cyclist.

    Bicycle traffic is somewhat heavy through downtown, and car-vs-bike collisions are somewhat frequent, though they’re low speed and mostly don’t result in injury. Almost all of them are things like hooks and crosses and likely will not be prevented by bike facilities such as this cycletrack or bike lanes.

  6. might depend on your definition of ‘crush’. to me, ‘crush’ means the literally crushing of a cyclist’s body by a car/truck/bus — as in having a car/truck/bus run right over the top of at least some part of a cyclist, and it also means to injure and collide with a cyclist in the myriad ways that can happen — the same way a baseball gets ‘crushed’ over the outfield fence. a cyclist may or may not be killed after being ‘crushed’ — that is, they may or may not be ‘crushed to death’. but I’m not sure why we would focus on the word ‘crush’ — is it too accurate? too inaccurate? 

    as for a cyclist getting blamed for getting killed, that’s not relevant, imo — cyclists, especially dead ones, often get blamed for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

    my comment was not specific to downtown San Jose or downtown anywhere — cycletracks work in several different ways to increase the safety level for cycling, thus leading to less crushing, at least per capita ridership, and eventually to less crushing in absolute numbers. They work in downtowns, uptowns, outside-of-towns, etc. if one cares about allowing more people to bike, the scientific evidence is clear — cycletracks increase safety — cycletracks work. which means i disagree with your final statement. The ‘safey in numbers’ effect is proven, and the way to get ‘numbers’ is with cycletracks, which is also proven. This has nothing to do with what I want or say or type — it’s the data, the research, and the world’s foremost experts on cycling safety.

    no piece of technology aimed at protecting cyclists from cars/trucks/buses will ever be perfect, and I’m all for trying to get to perfection, but those of us who want to see more people allowed to bike have a responsibility, i would argue, to examine the relative risks involved and choose an appropriate course of action. this cycletrack, however imperfect, is a boon to downtown cyclists, and a massive boon to would-be cyclists, pedestrians, drivers, bike shops, public health, etc. etc.

    vehicular cycling, on the other hand, does not work. never has, never will.

  7. i spoke with someone from the city yesterday and they are calling this a Parking buffered Bike lane. (ie a bike lane that is buffered by parking)
    They also explained that the reason for the rubber curbs was some obscure california law that requires parking to be within so many inches of a curb….

  8. oh wow – that ‘obscure law’ is totally weird, but totally cool for bikers, sorta.

    it prob makes it more difficult to get a parking-buffered bike lane, but it’s great b/c when there is nobody parked there, you still feel protected. nice.

    and the idea of using cars to protect us from…cars, is just excellent. 

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