You may have seen new bike lanes going in around you, as they have grown in popularity in recent years. Or, even if you don’t have many near you, you may have visited a city with extensive bike lanes to help cyclists move through traffic smoothly.
What you may have wondered is how much bike lanes really help. Generally, they are little more than thin lanes on the side of a busy street, separated by a six-inch strip of paint. Does that actually keep cyclists from getting hit by cars on the other side of that line?
What type of bike lanes are best?
Overall, reports in the U.S. National Library of Medicine show that bike lanes do help. These reports cite “mounting evidence” of reduced injury levels for those who use bike lanes, and of lower fatality rates. Since even a minor reduction in the statistical probability of injury or death is significant for a cyclist, it’s clear that having these lanes — and not having to literally share the road with motor vehicles — is beneficial.
That said, reports also note that these bike lanes that are separated merely by a painted line are the least helpful. The type of bike lane that helps the most is one that is physically separated from the road. This could be done with a median, for instance, or with physical barriers. Even barriers that would not stop a motor vehicle can increase safety since drivers are more aware of them.
If you get injured while biking, what should you do?
It’s clear that bike lanes help with safety issues, but they’re not always an option and they don’t prevent all accidents. If you suffer injuries while riding your bike or a loved one is seriously hurt, you must know what options you have to recover your losses. An attorney can help you hold the right party or parties accountable for their mistakes.