An increasing number of jurisdictions have installed bike lanes in recent years. There’s sure to be an uptick in these cities and states choosing to do so over the next few years as President Joseph Biden’s administration distributes federal funds aimed at improving the quality of U.S. roadways.
Many bike safety advocates point to bike lanes as the key to keeping bicyclists safe on U.S. roadways. However, many of the lanes’ proponents note that they are only effective if government officials take time to educate bicyclists and motorists about their proper usage.
What tips should bicyclists follow when maneuvering bike lanes to remain safe?
There are certain times when bicyclists are more apt to have a car strike them than others. These include when:
- a motorist pulls out of an alley, parking lot or driveway
- drivers open their car doors in a bike rider’s path
- motorists don’t look for them before making a turn
- drivers swerve in their direction to try and miss another vehicle or something else that enters their path
These situations can happen even when a bicyclist uses a bike lane. Concrete barriers that serve as a buffer between lanes of traffic and bicyclists may provide some additional protection. Nevertheless, transportation officials urge bicyclists to keep as far to the right as possible to minimize injuries if an accident occurs.
Tips motorists can follow to protect the safety of bicyclists
Motorists may benefit from knowing that riders can lawfully operate their bicycles in both directions within bike lanes. However, they should also know that it’s their responsibility to yield to the right of way of a bicyclist riding through uncontrolled intersections. Motorists should never operate their vehicles in a bike lane.
Other measures you can take to protect your safety while bike riding
Florida law requires bicyclists under the age of 16 to wear a bike helmet at all times. Lawmakers don’t require the same of bicyclists over that age, but it’s recommendable. Of course, any helmet you choose should be U.S. Department of Transportation-approved.
You may want to apprise yourself of the different hand signals to use to give motorists a better idea of your intentions. In addition, wearing high visibility or reflective clothing, especially when lighting is poor or at night, may increase the chances of motorists seeing you.
Receive immediate medical care following an accident in which you suffer injuries. In addition, promptly following up with an attorney can ensure that you preserve critical evidence. Taking these two steps will be critical if you opt to file a lawsuit.