The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Bicycle Accidents: Are the Roads Better for Cyclists or Not?

In 2021, a total of 961 cyclists died in accidents in the U.S. Cycling can be pretty dangerous, even for those who are very careful on the road. During the pandemic, more and more people picked up cycling as a travel option. Not only that, but large cities all around the world have been creating more pop-up bike lanes.

But despite the number of cyclists increasing and the number of bike lanes growing as well, many people in the bicycle community still have concerns regarding road safety. Worldwide, 41,000 cyclists still end up dying in road accidents every year.

Are roads better for cyclists today or not? Let’s find out.

Do Bike Lanes Make Roads Safer for Cyclists?

Implementing bike lanes is necessary given the increasing number of cyclists. People who ride bicycles as their main method of transportation can still be at risk of being involved in traffic-related crashes – therefore, adding bike lines reduces the likelihood of accidents and death. Furthermore, they can make the road a better place not only for cyclists but also for motor vehicle drivers.

Bicycle lanes have the power to decrease car crash frequency, calm traffic, add a barrier between pedestrians and motor traffic, encourage cyclists to refrain from cycling on the sidewalk, and promote cycling.

When pop-up bike lanes are made, they are usually done with temporary materials to create a space dedicated to cyclists and to segregate a particular traffic lane. However, the cycling infrastructure must be properly designed and implemented to make sure cyclists are not at risk of accidents and fatalities.

In many major cities in the U.S., traffic fatalities for cyclists reduced significantly once protected bike lanes were installed. For instance, deaths decreased by 75% in Portland, 40% in Denver, 60% in Seattle, and 50% in San Francisco.

How Cities Can Make Roads Better for Cyclists

Even though bike lanes have improved safety in many cities, some improvements can still be made because there are many accidents that involve cyclists. This means that the authorities have to think of ways to improve the roads.

Here are a few methods that cities can use to improve safety for people who ride bicycles:

1. Keeping an Eye on Bike Lanes

Existing bike lanes have reduced a lot of the danger associated with cycling. However, some lanes are still not that great, especially when they are filled with garbage, obstructions, and potholes.

Garbage and waste, especially broken glass, can be very dangerous to all cyclists. This is because debris can make holes in tires and flatten them, which can affect cyclists while they are trying to make it to their destination.

Obstructions of any kind may cause cyclists to switch to a busier lane to avoid them, putting their lives at risk. Obstructions include electric poles, parked cars, and trees among others.

Meanwhile, potholes can throw cyclists off their bikes or knock them off balance.

Considering these dangers, it is essential to monitor bike lanes to make sure they are safe for cyclists.

2. Adding Bike Lanes in Car-Free Areas

While bike lanes are necessary for areas with cars, they should also be implemented accordingly in areas free of vehicles. Bidirectional cycle lanes allow cyclists to share the street with people who do not use motor vehicles. Authorities can turn small streets into better public spaces for everyone and even improve safety for cyclists.

Bidirectional lanes are the best in environments free of cars. However, they are not the greatest solutions in other street contests because the likelihood of accidents is increased in these cases. For instance, drivers may be unable to see cyclists coming from two directions at intersections.

3. Adding Bike Lane Protection

In some places, barriers are added to the bike lanes to keep cyclists safe from vehicles. This is especially the case on busy roads and highways. Every city takes a different approach when it comes to protecting bike lanes.

For instance, some take advantage of plastic cones in bright colors, while others use concrete barriers.

The best way to keep a bike lane protected is to make it visible, so car drivers are always aware it is there.

The Bottom Line

Making roads safer for cyclists is a must, especially as authorities are trying to reduce the number of accidents, whether small or fatal. But if you are ever involved in a bicycle accident, do not hesitate to seek a bicycle accident attorney to help you throughout the legal process and claim compensation.

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