What are the zebra-striped bumps on Seattle roads?

Drivers in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood may be seeing something new on the roadways — "armadillo"-looking bumps with zebra stripes. 

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) installed ZICLA Zebra Cycle Separators on the stripe that separates the bike lane and the lane for vehicles. 

According to its website, "The Zebra Family products are designed to improve citizens’ safety on the streets, and especially the safety of bike lane users. They allow the rapid transformation of the street through the construction of cycle lanes, sidewalk widening, and road narrowing at intersections."

Essentially, it's made to increase the distance between road traffic and the bicycle lane and is supposed to create a higher barrier to motor vehicles.

When asked on X, formerly Twitter, "What is the city’s reasoning for having so many different separators," SDOT replied with: 

"There are a couple of reasons.

  • First: we're piloting different techniques to learn what works and what doesn't.
  • Second: we evaluate right-of-way availability, curb space and usage, and traffic operations for the demands of each location."

The criteria for its installation were: the space available, the nearby curb space and usage, and traffic operations in the vicinity, according to SDOT. 

It's unclear if they will be installed in other areas throughout Seattle. 

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