Max Draitser - Southern California Bicycle Attorneys

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Are bike lanes getting crowded?

Generally speaking, you have three lanes on a city street: The travel lane for cars, the bike lane for cyclists and the sidewalk for pedestrians. These keep different modes of transportation in their separate spaces to keep everyone safe.

However, some experts have noted that it’s not always this simple. What do you do with skateboards? Where do you put those new electric scooters that are popular in many cities? They think we need to reconsider how we divide traffic.

They did so largely based on speed and the width of the lane. Their recommendations put fast cyclists — those with spandex shorts, jerseys and dedicated road bikes — in the same lane as cars and trucks, noting that they all go roughly the same speed in the city. They left more low-key cyclists — your college student comminuting to class on a mountain bike, for instance — in the bike lanes. They also added things like skateboarders, electric scooters and even runners to this lane. That left walkers, people in wheelchairs and other slow traffic for the sidewalk.

Now, this is not an actual change. It was more just a brain exercise to see if they could find a better way to divide space for different types of traffic. But it does show how complex the road systems can get and how all of these areas are getting more and more crowded with different types of traffic.

This congestion can lead to accidents. If you get injured in a crash, make sure you know what legal options you have to seek compensation.