“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Davis in Yolo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

First Bicycle Lanes in Davis

First Bicycle Lanes in Davis Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 10, 2020
1. First Bicycle Lanes in Davis Marker
Inscription.  In the early 1960's, conflicts between bicyclists and vehicles were increasing as Davis and UC Davis both grew rapidly. Petitions from residents requested the creation of bicycle lanes and bike parking as the town developed. In 1965, local citizens Frank and Eve Child and Dale and Donna Lott suggested that Davis should create bicycle lanes similar to those in the Netherlands.

In 1966 Norm Woodbury and Maynard Skinner were elected to the Davis City Council after advocating support for bicycle lanes. By June 1967 these two joined then-Mayor Kent Gill to approve the very first Davis bicycle lanes. A subsequent bill establishing the right for California cities to install bike paths was also passed by the California state legislature and signed by then-Governor Ronald Reagan.

By late July 1967, the very first official bike lane in Davis and in the United States was created on 8th Street between A Street and Sycamore Lane. It was the first time that a lane for the preferential use of bicyclists had been designated as part of an existing roadway meant for vehicles. Other bike lanes soon followed on Sycamore Lane (between

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Russell Blvd. and W. 8th St.), J Street (between 3rd St. and 8th St.) and on this section of 3rd Street (between the railroad tracks and B St. after work was completed on downtown drainage pipes).

Although paths for bicycles had existed as far back as 1895 in Brooklyn, no one had ever developed design standards for bike lanes on city streets. How wide should the bike lanes be? How would bicycles turn left through an intersection? Where should bike lanes be placed in relation to parked cars? Through trial and error, the city's Public Works Department with the help of bicycle advocates and citizens, developed bike lane safety specifications and regulations that were adopted by Caltrans and copied across California.

The League of American Bicyclists awarded Davis with its first ever Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly Community award in 2005. Within its eleven square miles, the city has over 100 miles of designated bike lanes and paths. Davis has more bike commuting residents per capita than any other city in the U.S. The City of Davis is truly America's #1 "City of Bicycles".
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1967.
Location. 38° 32.647′ N, 121° 44.671′ W. Marker is in Davis, California, in Yolo County. Marker is at the intersection

First Bicycle Lanes in Davis Marker - wide view image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 10, 2020
2. First Bicycle Lanes in Davis Marker - wide view
The marker is visible here just to the left of the lamppost, with the US Bicycling Hall of Fame visible in the background.
of 3rd Street and B Street, on the right when traveling west on 3rd Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 303 3rd Street, Davis CA 95616, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln Highway Marker (approx. 0.2 miles away); Davis Library Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old Davis High School (approx. 0.2 miles away); Varsity Theatre (approx. ¼ mile away); Historic City Hall (approx. ¼ mile away); Site of the First Yolo County Public Library Branch (approx. ¼ mile away); Site of the Jerome C. and Mary Chiles Davis Homestead (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Davis.
More about this marker. The marker is located in front of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
Also see . . .  The 1967 Beginning of Bike Lanes in Davis, California (Researching Davis History). (Submitted on September 14, 2020.)
Inset photo: Sycamore Lane experiment image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Bob Sommer
3. Inset photo: Sycamore Lane experiment
"This 1967 bike lane used concrete bumpers to separate parked cars from the bike only 1anes. The parked cars screened the visibility of bicyclists coming into intersections and cars would unknowingly drive the bike lane. This bike lane design was eventually abandoned."
Photo inset: Sycamore Lane image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Bob Sommer
4. Photo inset: Sycamore Lane
"The 1967 separated bike lanes on Sycamore Lane didn't prevent conflicts with turning vehicles. Today at this intersection there are special bike-only traffic signals that provide cyclists their own crossing phase. These innovative bicycle signals were the first of their kind to be installed in the U.S."
Credits. This page was last revised on September 14, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 14, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California. This page has been viewed 164 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 14, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California.

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Dec. 4, 2023