In recent years, Providence has struggled with its bicycle infrastructure, but according to local sources, the dots are beginning to connect. As cycling has become increasingly popular throughout the city, infrastructural changes have followed, though more work needs to be done.
While bicycle crash-related deaths account for only two percent of all traffic fatalities, they have increased by 25 percent within the last decade, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Bicyclists are generally safer when travelling in bike lanes. Protected bike lanes — which separate bicyclists from vehicular traffic with physical barriers — are being installed in Providence and several other cities across the United States. A new IIHS study finds that bicyclists may not always be safe when riding in protected bike lanes, however.
Where do the risks exist in protected bike lanes?
The IIHS worked with researchers from George Washington University, Oregon Health and Science University, and New York University to identify where the risks exist in protected bike lanes. The study involved more than 600 adult bicyclists who had visited emergency rooms in the District of Columbia, New York City, and Portland, Oregon.
Researchers spoke to participants and compiled location details regarding crashes or falls that occurred in protected bike lanes. Only about half of these crashes or falls involved cars. Researchers determined that bicyclists were more likely to get injured in street-level two-way protected bike lanes where driveways, alleys, and intersections were present. This is due to cars making turns or pulling in or out of junctions — directly in the path of bicyclists.
In other cases, bicyclists were injured when swerving to avoid hitting pedestrians that have accessed the bike lanes.
Are certain protected bike lanes safer?
Two-way protected bike lanes that were located on bridges or raised from street level were found to be much safer. Bicyclists are far less likely to encounter cars or pedestrians. For this reason, authors in the study are urging officials in cities across the US to consider reviewing their protected bike lanes and consider infrastructural changes in areas where bicyclists may encounter other traffic.
Drivers are also urged to look both ways when turning or exiting a driveway or alley. Bicyclists are only difficult to see when drivers aren't attentive. When someone is injured or killed as a result, at-fault drivers should be held accountable.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a bicycle crash, a Providence attorney at the Law Office of Mark B. Morse can help you in the pursuit of justice. You shouldn't have to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other pain and suffering because of someone else's careless behavior. Contact us online today to explore the legal options available to you.