NEW YORK – The city started painting more lines on its streets – not to increase traffic flow but to improve safety for bicyclists. While many reports say bike lanes are certainly safer, they aren’t fool proof.
According to new research on bicycle lanes, one in five bicycle injuries occur in marked bike lanes. Almost every time, the bicyclist is hit by a car.
A Manhattan bicycle accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes said many drivers continue to be distracted on the roads and they fail to spot a bicyclist – even if the cyclist is using a proper bike lane.
“Crashes involving bicyclists usually happen when a car is turning and has to cross over a bike path in Manhattan,” bicycle accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “It’s a driver’s responsibility to pay attention and use caution when making turns but many drivers are too distracted to be aware of their surroundings.”
Nearly 200 bicyclists who spent at least one night in the hospital agreed to take part in the recent survey which was published in Accident Analysis and Prevention.
Half of all bike lane crashes occurred when a car and a bicyclist were traveling toward each other from opposite directions. In these cases, cyclists reported that the vehicle cut in front of them while making a left-hand turn.
One-third of the accidents happened when a bicyclist and a driver were traveling next to each other, going in the same direction.
“Drivers making right hand turns often keep looking straight ahead instead of looking to their right, where they intend on going,” Cellino said. “It’s important to slow down and check your side-view mirrors for bicyclists and pedestrians before making any turns.”
The researchers who conducted the study stressed that their findings should not be an indicator that bike lanes are dangerous. In fact, they stated that streets with bike lanes still had lower crash risks than those without them.
For that reason, cities like New York continue adding new bike lanes every year in an effort to make the streets safer for bicyclists, who have long advocated the addition of bike lanes to city infrastructure.
Manhattan bicycle accident lawyers say bike lanes also attract more riders than roads without markings and cyclists feel safer when traveling in a marked lane. Researchers said the high number of bicyclists using bike lanes likely factored into the sudden spike in crashes. However, there’s hope that the trend will slow down and perhaps future studies will show that bike lanes really do make the roads safer for cyclists in New York.
In many cases, a bicyclist could receive compensation for their injuries if they’ve been hit by a car. Manhattan bicycle accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say distracted motorists are most often to blame for bike accidents and a driver can be held liable for a cyclist’s injuries.
Cellino & Barnes is highly rated by clients on Martindale for quality of service and value of the settlement or verdict. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, call one of their attorneys today for a free case evaluation.