Why Bike Lanes Should Have Physical Protection from Car Traffic
A recent study from Monash University in Australia suggests that merely painting bike lanes onto the roads may be counterproductive. For a period of up to two weeks, cyclists were monitored by electronic equipment and cameras to view motorists and measure the distance at they motorists passed cyclists on the road.
The study results revealed that cars actually left less room for cyclists on roads where there were painted cycle lanes, an average of 10 inches less room than roads without cycle lanes. Cars left even less room where there were cars parked along the curb. The least amount of room left by motorists was on roads where there were parked cars and a cyclist lane.
Oddly enough, the study showed the most room provided cyclists was where there were no painted cycle lanes and no parked cars. If painted cycle lanes do not increase safety for bicyclists, what can cyclists do to ensure their safety on roadways until there is a more permanent solution?
Common Bicycling Accidents and Rules of the Road
Statistically, cyclists are most likely to collide with a car at an intersection. In order to minimize these accidents, it is important for cyclists and motorists to know the rules of the road and take extra precautions when approaching intersections.
Intersections are especially dangerous because cars underestimate their speed, are not on the lookout for bikes, and sometimes cannot see bikes due to other obstacles and features on the road. To minimize these issues, bicyclists can increase their visibility with reflective clothing, head and tail lamps, and continually stay alert for cars.
A bicycle and car must follow rules of the road. Motorists and cyclists need to know which vehicle has the “right of way” at different intersections. For example, if there are no traffic signals at an intersection, the vehicle that arrived first has the right of way.
The most frequent bicycle and car collision occurs where the cyclist has a stop sign and the motorist does not. The cyclist stops, then rides out in front of a car. The car then hits the cyclist.
The next most frequent accident is the opposite scenario where the motorist has a stop sign and the cyclist does not. The motorist stops, then drives out in front of the cyclist.
Improving Bicycling Safety
Some of the best ways to prevent bicycle accidents and avoid injuries are the following:
- Always wear a helmet;
- Ride the right size bike;
- Always keep a proper lookout when approaching an intersection;
- Adjust lane position to the left when approaching an intersection to ensure visibility to drivers;
- Adjust your speed at the intersection to allow for braking quickly if necessary;
- Be prepared to brake suddenly in case a car cuts you off;
- Consider crossing at the crosswalk and walking the bike across, as a pedestrian;
- Avoid passing a car on the right at intersections or driveways.
The goal of all cyclists is to avoid accidents. However, in the event of an unexpected injury it may be necessary to seek help in recovering medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Compensation for Bicycling Accidents
If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycling accident, it is important to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will review your claim and help determine who was liable for the accident and what, if any, damages are due to you.
At Mattiacci Law, LLC, our legal experts can help with the insurance paperwork and investigation process as well as fight for compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and any future medical needs. There are time limits to file your personal injury claim, so it is important to call the attorneys at Mattiacci Law, LLC, today.