Bicycle lanes can give you the space to safely ride without as much risk of getting hit by a car. However, sometimes these small lanes are more of an afterthought and it shows.
Recognizing that bicyclists deserve a safe and functional path to travel in may reduce collisions. With a designated place to travel, you can worry a little less about distracted motorists and enjoy your ride.
If you have ever ridden your bike in a bike lane that sits right up against traffic, you may feel vulnerable as you can feel the rush of vehicles flying past. Bicycle lanes that merely have a painted line between you and traveling motorists provide little to no protection and no room for error. According to the State of California, Department of Motor Vehicles, over 100 bicyclists suffer fatal injuries each year throughout the state.
A better option is the use of a buffer. This means you have anywhere from several inches to a few feet between you and passing cars. Installing planter beds between traffic lanes and a bike lane is one creative way that your city can make a barrier for you. Other options include the use of precast curbing, delineator posts or turtle bumps.
Another action that could better protect you from harm is when your city uses adequate signage. The signs they put alongside the bicycle lane should have enough frequency to remind motorists that they need to share the road with you and other cyclists. At openings in the bike path, for turning, for example, signage should warn both motorists and cyclists to use extra caution.
When you ride your bike, you deserve to return home safely. If you do experience a crash that severely injures you because of a motorist’s mistake, you may want to take legal action. Having a trustworthy attorney can help you advocate for your rights and for your safety in the future.