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Traffic Lane Dividers: Keeping Cyclists, Pedestrians, and Drivers Safe

Traffic lane dividers offer an effective solution to the growing problem of ensuring driver and pedestrian safety along America’s roads.  As the population continues to age and as bicyclists become more common along public streets, the need for dividers will only increase.

Benefits of Traffic Lane Dividers

Dividers serve multiple purposes on modern roadways.  These include:

• Helping to deter head-on-collisions – Dividers act as buffer zones to prevent errant vehicles from straying into the paths of cars and trucks moving in the opposite direction.  As head-on wrecks are more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities than other types of collisions, this role is extremely important.

Acting as refuge spot for those crossing a public road – This purpose is especially important in congested urban areas, where pedestrians often cross multiple lanes of traffic.  Giving walkers a chance for a breathing spell helps them to maintain their alertness.  Having space between lanes also increases their visibility, making motorists more observant.

Separating automobile and bicycle lanes – Bike riding is rising in popularity across the United States, both for its fitness benefits and as a way to save on commuting costs.  Sadly, motorists are not always as aware as they should be of the presence of cyclists. Traffic lane dividers offer an extra measure of protection for bicycle riders as they share the road with drivers.

• Preventing side-to-side collisions between vehicles – This need is especially acute in areas where lanes are narrow, such as in construction areas and large cities.

• Serving as a space in which to install additional signage – Most locations in the United States have been served fairly well by traditional side-mounted signs.  This is expected to change, however, as an increasingly older and increasingly distracted population will need more prominent signage to help them stay aware.  Traffic lane dividers are effective places to install such notices.

Types of Dividers in Common Use

• Flexible bollards – These are the most common types of dividers currently in use.  They serve as high visibility reminders to drivers more than as actual physical barriers.  They’re especially useful in areas with a temporary need for enhanced lane division, such as in areas where road repairs are being performed.

Permanent fixed bollards – These devices can actually stop an errant vehicle from crossing over into an opposing or adjoining lane.  While they offer enhanced protection, they’re also likely to cause serious damage to vehicles.  This limits their use to areas that require high levels of security, such as government buildings, nuclear facilities, or military complexes.

• Raised dividers – These are becoming especially common in areas with heavy bike traffic.  Usually made of recycled materials, they consist of a strip of material that rises a few inches above the road surface and is shaped like an upside-down half-circle.

• Movable concrete or water-filled barriers – These are usually seen on major highways.  Their sheer size and weight make them a powerful defense against errant vehicles.  They can also be moved easily by crews using heavy equipment, combining effectiveness with portability.

Islands – These are football-shaped spaces in-between opposing lanes of traffic.  They may be designated by nothing more than yellows stripes running across the road surface.  Or they may include raised concrete beds with shrubs or trees planted in the center.  They can also include metal railings or even netting designed to stop errant vehicles.  Islands are most frequently used to divide opposing lanes of major highways such as interstates.


America’s roads are becomingly increasingly crowded all the time.  Ensuring the safety of those who use them will be a growing challenge for the foreseeable future.  Traffic lane dividers will continue to play a vital role in this regard, helping all travelers to reach their destinations safe and sound.