The Armadillo is just a small, gentle bump that reminds cars to stay out of cyclists' turf. Easy and cheap to install, it could help more cities take the extra step toward more complete streets.
Painted bike lanes are safer for cyclists than riding in the middle of the road, but bike lanes that are separated with a curb are even better. For example, one study found that cyclists in separated lanes had 80% fewer accidents than those in regular bike lanes. But it’s often tricky to convince city governments to take the extra, more concrete step of separation. One product from a U.K. design firm aims to help.
The “Armadillo” is a low-slung recycled plastic bump that can be installed along the edge of a bike lane. Set at an angle, the bumps allow enough space for bikes to ride back out into the street if they need to, something that isn’t as easy with a full concrete curb. But it still keeps cars out.
In cities where bike lanes are routinely ignored--like New York, where cyclist Casey Neistathilariously documented the number of illegally parked cars along one bike route a couple of years ago--having something like this to physically separate the curb is one way to make lanes more usable.
It’s a gentler reminder to drivers than a concrete curb, says Anthony Lau, managing director at Cyclehoop, the company that makes the product. “They’re not very high, so if a driver strays in the road they’ll just feel a bump and move away from the edge. It’s not like driving over concrete, which would just destroy your wheel.” Ambulances and other emergency vehicles could drive over the separator if necessary.