New map shows high- and low-stress biking areas in Montgomery Co.

WASHINGTON — While bike commuting may have boomed in the cities, where speeds are slower and bike lanes are being adopted, most suburban roads were designed with cars in mind, and that poses plenty of challenges for cyclists.

Montgomery County’s Planning Board has a new tool to help predict which roadways and neighborhoods are likely to be used by cyclists: the Bicycle Stress Map. Staff introduced the map to council members at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The map groups roads into four categories, from high-stress roadways to stress-free bike paths.

The map features examples of each category, featuring GoPro video that gives users an idea of what kind of challenges a cyclist would face —  from heavy, high-speed traffic to watching out for being “doored” (which happens when a driver parks their car next to a bike lane and swings their door open without looking for oncoming cyclists).

The map illustrates the importance of infrastructure: Simply having Metro in a neighborhood won’t necessarily encourage commuters to leave cars at home and bike to the station if the area roads are not bike-friendly.

The map is one of the tools in the county’s Bike Master Plan, which is aimed at making bike commuting a viable alternative to driving.

Planners see a benefit not just to cyclists, but to drivers, by removing cars from the county’s congested roads.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

© 2016 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up