Bike lanes are not without flaws. They do not perfectly protect cyclists. There are a lot of factors in play.
That said, studies have repeatedly shown that they are safer than riding bikes without designated lanes, as so many are forced to do. For instance, one study looked at 12 different cities over a period of 13 years — a massive sample size — and discovered what has been called a “drastic decline in fatalities.”
Another thing that the study found was that better barriers helped tremendously. By this, they mean actual physical barriers. Many bike lanes are just painted lines on the side of the road. Those can help, and they do separate and direct traffic, but physical barriers take things a step further. They really give cyclists a place where they can ride in safety, feeling secure.
Why do you have to share the road?
You often hear cyclists talking about wanting to share the road with cars. The idea is that drivers don’t actively share with them and put them at risk. However, you may find yourself wondering why you have to share the road in the first place. Why don’t you have your own lanes? Why don’t cyclists get the safety and infrastructure they need? Why does it feel like cars are always the priority, when cyclists are actually the ones facing greater risks?
These are valid questions to ask, and it’s clear that we need more bike lanes and a greater focus on safety. Cyclists who get injured in accidents also need to know how to seek compensation.