The value of having physical barriers separating drivers and bicyclists

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2021 | Bicycle Accidents |

It’s an almost age-old issue – what steps can be taken to enhance the safety of people riding bicycles, especially when they must share urban roads with heavy traffic? There is no question that motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists co-exist somewhat uneasily. In fact, statistics indicate alarming trends.

Citing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a web site called California Healthline noted that 455 cyclists died in traffic accidents in California between 2016 and 2018, the highest number of such deaths in a three-year period in 25 years. Nationally, the rate of fatal accidents involving vehicles and bicycles also rose over the same three-year period. 

What can be done to make roads safer for cars and bicycles?

There has been no shortage of well-intentioned proposals over the years to increase safety on the road for vulnerable bike riders who travel alongside scores of large, fast vehicles. Among them are lowering speed limits, stiffer penalties for distracted driving, having more clearly-delineated intersections and better infrastructure.

One promising, seemingly viable suggestion is to have more investment in physical barriers between bikes and vehicles — not just painted lines on the street — to prevent them from colliding with each other with fatal consequences. A 2019 article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that Australian researchers found that actual barriers kept bicyclists safer, including from hazards like drivers who open their car doors without looking first for oncoming bicycles.

It’s certainly an option worth exploring further.

Hopefully, you won’t be involved in a collision between your bicycle and a vehicle. If you are, however, an experienced attorney who deals in such accidents might be a good source of information.