Cities play a key role in protecting bicyclists from serious injury. By designing new streets and intersections – or modifying existing ones – in ways that promote cyclist safety, cities and neighborhoods can help reduce the number of bicycle-car collisions.

But what do bike-safe streets and intersections actually look like? Here are a few examples of forward-thinking, effective features community leaders can consider.

Bike boxes

Poor visibility is one of the biggest risks cyclists face, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. Smart design can address that with features such as a bike box. This is a dedicated, painted area that expands at the end of a bike lane, where cyclists wait at a red light – ahead of motorists. This not only makes it much easier for drivers to see bicyclists, but means cyclists get a bit of a head start when crossing the intersection.

Cyclist-oriented traffic signals and signs

Even a simple sign can make a difference. One option is to provide signage for vehicles that want to turn right saying they must yield to bikes and pedestrians. A dedicated signal phasing system is another possibility. With effective signal patterns such as a dedicated green light for bikers, cities can give cyclists open, safer opportunities to cross the street and turn before motor vehicles are allowed to go.

Protective corner islands

One way to help promote road safety is by providing physical separation between cars and bicycles. Protected bike lanes might feature a raised curb or vertical barrier, but this type of feature can be used at corners as well. By providing a designated concrete island outward from the regular curb, cyclists (and pedestrians) have a safer space to gather while waiting to cross.

Clear, colorful markings

This might sound obvious, but cities should use bold, colorful markings to define and formalize car, bike and pedestrian areas. These markings can also direct traffic in certain directions, make it clear who gets the right of way and offer visual cues that catch a driver’s eye.

Biking shouldn’t be a risky proposition

You deserve safe streets. Choosing to use a bicycle to get around the city of Los Angeles does not have to be such a dangerous activity. Local leaders should strongly consider further incorporating these types of proven safety features to help bikers.

If the worst happens however, make sure you know what to do after an accident. You may also want to consider a personal injury lawsuit as a way to receive financial compensation for your injuries – both physical and mental – as well as missed work.