Max Draitser - Southern California Bicycle Attorneys

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Do bike lanes help or hurt when it comes to bicyclist safety?

Most people think that riding in a biking lane makes total sense. They provide a safe space where no other vehicles can enter. Unfortunately, the way that many lanes are laid out does not make them as safe as they could be. Some have no barriers between fast-moving traffic, while others cross the paths of cars and trucks that may be turning or switching lanes.

What does the research say?

Research is conflicted about whether or not biking in bike lanes is safer; there isn’t enough conclusive evidence either way. While some research suggests that these lanes don’t hurt, they may not necessarily make cyclists safer, either.

Having biking lanes in a city does mean that more cyclists will ride on the road. Bike lanes will help keep them off the sidewalk, which reduces the risk of pedestrian-cyclist collisions. However, drivers still have to be aware of cyclists and avoid driving into bike lanes unexpectedly.

A good solution is to use bike lanes that have a physical barrier separating them from the roadway. Barriers can make it much less likely that a car or truck will enter the lane and strike a bicyclist. Something as simple as a plastic lane divider could be enough to lower accidents.

Practice vigilance

Always make sure to be vigilant and watch out for drivers who may not be paying attention, even when riding in a bike line.. If the volume of cyclists isn’t high around your local area, then drivers may not be used to having people use those lanes and therefore less likely to expect cyclists.

If you’ve been struck by a driver who was not paying attention, consider speaking to a qualified personal injury attorney.