White Line Fever: The Top 8 Dedicated & Innovative Traffic Lanes

Today's trend towards an ever more inclusive society now extends to the highways and biways of our lives. That means drivers had better learn to share the road with everything from web-footed wanderers to oblivious earbud-equipped texters.                  

Dedicated Designated Duck Lanes

England and Wales boast over 2,000 miles of inland waterways bordered by narrow towpaths once used to pull boats and barges along the placid canals. Nowadays the towpaths are shared by cyclists, pedestrians and... ducks!

The Canal & River Trust charity organization is giving the web-footed wanderers a hand, so to speak, by installing temporary "Duck Lanes" along the waterways in London, Birmingham and Manchester. By the looks of it, 3 out of 4 ducks can read. (designated lane image via WENN)   

Temporary Olympics Lanes

Hosting the Olympic Games is typically a recipe for traffic chaos so in the summer of 2012, the City of London installed special Olympics Games Lanes reserved for Olympic athletes and officials throughout the metropolitan road network.

Traffic chaos ensued anyway when London Black Cab drivers mounted a rolling protest at being excluded from the Olympic lanes. Brilliant! (designated lane image via CCTV English)  

Texting Lanes For Phone Focused Strollers

Good news for the “head down tribe”! Utah Valley University is giving mobile students focused on mobile phones a place to call their own: a designated lane for texting while walking, or “text-walking” as we like to call it.

Students at the 31,000 population school in Orem, Utah, would like to see the program expanded from its current short stretch of stairway. "There's nothing worse than walking behind someone who's texting and you can't get around them and go anywhere," bemoaned one student. First world problems indeed. (designated lane image via Killeen Daily Herald)      

Bike Lanes On The Freeway??

Bicycle riders have long sought equal treatment with vehicle drivers but as the old maxim goes, one should be careful of what they ask for. Take designated bike lanes, for instance.

Sydney's M2 Freeway cycle route is one of a number of dedicated bike lanes that sets cyclists rubbing cheek by jowl with motorists and transport truck drivers. We can see how doing so would be cheaper than installing separate bike-only lanes but who's taking the risk here? Bikers down under had better be sure their helmets fit tight and their insurance is paid up. (designated lane image via I Do Not Despair)   

Soon... Mobility Scooter Lanes

OK, so dedicated mobility scooter lanes aren't a thing yet but “yet” is the key word: you KNOW they're coming, and not just to the mean streets of Sun City. A number of incidents involving confused and/or distracted scooter pilots finding themselves on busy highways is sure to spur concerned authorities into action.

One noteworthy case saw a 91-year-old retired builder zipping along one of the UK's busiest roads after he took a wrong turn on his way home from buying the morning newspaper. Note to city planners: scooter drivers putting along at 3mph shouldn't be sharing lanes with semitrailers blowing past at 70mph. just sayin'. (designated lane image via Daily Mail   

To Cellphone Or Not To Cellphone?

Authorities in Chongqing, China has instigated a project designed to make city sidewalks safer for children and the elderly. Safe from what, you may ask? From oblivious pre-occupied cellphone users, of course!

In its pilot phase, 100 meters (about 330 feet) of sidewalk was divided using white paint into two designated lanes: one for cellphone users, the other for people who don't use cellphones in public - those lanes are going to be VERY uncrowded. Of course, this clever plan is predicated on cellphone users actually looking beyond their screens to ensure they're in the correct lane. DOH! (designated lane image via World Discover)   

Skateboarder Shred Lanes

Annoyed by skateboarders acting all Bart Simpson and terrorizing the walking paths? Hey, who isn't... somebody should give those guys (and gals) a lane of their own. Even better, lump 'em together with cyclists so they can annoy each other for the greater good of the rest of us!

We're not sure if the stenciled symbol above, located on the Laurier Segregated Bike Lane in Ottawa, Canada's Centretown neighborhood is official or not – we're guessing it's not – but at least it's a sign 'boarders are crying out for some attention... much like the pedestrians they too often crash into. (designated lane image via Images Of Centretown   

Chairing The Roads With Wheelchair Rollways

It's all about accessibility, isn't it, and disabled folks deserve more consideration than sinmply providing reserved parking places – hey, what happens AFTER they've parked, hmm?

Plying standard bike lanes isn't always the answer as bikes can go places wheelchairs can't. The small Dutch town of Middenbeemster is one of the first to indicate travel pathways are safe for wheelchair users on one of their fietspads, or dedicated car-free cycle lanes. It's a gouda thing! (designated lane image above via Wheel Travel Blog, at top via FFFFound)