Bike Lane Accidents
With the use of bicycles becoming increasing popular in Massachusetts, the number of reported bike accidents has dramatically risen in recent years. For this reason, many cities such as Boston are creating designated bicycle lanes in an effort to make biking safe and reduce the number of bike accident related injuries and fatalities. While bike lanes have become part of a nationwide effort to increase bike safety, they may also pose new risks to cyclists and pedestrians alike.
The Boston bicycle accident attorneys at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. understand the dangers that many bicyclists and pedestrians may face as a result of designated bike lanes. Our experienced bike crash lawyers are committed to holding negligent parties accountable for the injuries they cause to bicyclists.Boston’s Designated Bike Lanes
According to Boston’s Bike Safety Report, there are currently more than 60 miles of bike lanes throughout the city. A bike lane is a designated route on a roadway for the exclusive use of bicycles and is often separated by a solid bright white line, pavement coloring or other symbol. Motorists should not drive in a designated bike lane unless they are turning. Drivers are also prohibited from stopping or parking in a bike lane, which is punishable by fine.Bicycle-Motorist Bike Lane Accidents
Although bicycle lanes are often a better alternative than bicycles sharing lanes with cars on the roads, they still have their own risks. Since the bike lanes are usually adjacent to roads, yet not separated, there is still a high risk for bike accidents involving motor vehicles. Some bike advocates argue that motorists may even be less aware of bicyclists when they are traveling in a bicycle lane versus sharing a lane on a road. This can be extremely dangerous in intersections and when vehicles are turning.
Intersections are one of the most dangerous places for cyclists. Vehicles are more likely to be turning and not watching for bicycles in bike lanes. In fact, nearly 60% of bicycle crashes in Boston are reported to happen at intersections.
Bike lane collisions often also occur when drivers often fail to check for oncoming cyclists before taking a left or right turn across a bike lane. Under Massachusetts’ law, all operators of a motor vehicle have a duty to check for bicyclists before turning or changing lanes. Turning left can be especially dangerous if a motorist fails to see a bike heading toward them in bike lane. When taking a right turn into the path of a bicyclist, motorists should check to make sure there are no bicyclists traveling next to or behind them before carefully merging into the bike lane to turn right.
Another concern for cyclists in bicycle lanes is dooring accidents. Motor vehicles frequently are parked to the right of bike lanes in Boston. When a motorist parks on the side of the road they must be careful to not open their doors into the path of a cyclist or a pedestrian. Many states, including Massachusetts, require that both drivers and passengers always check for cyclists or pedestrians before opening a car door. Unfortunately, failure to look before opening a car door into the path of a cyclist can cause serious injury to the cyclist, motorist, and even other drivers on the road. For example, if a driver opens his door into the path of a cyclist it could cause the cyclist to run into the driver’s door. In other situations, the bicyclist may attempt to avoid the bike lane collision by swerving into oncoming traffic. Either scenario can cause injury and in some instances cause death.Bicycle-Pedestrian Bike Lane Accidents
Although bike paths situated to the right of traffic are exclusively for bikes there are many other paths in any urban area that of for the use of cyclists as well as pedestrians or other modes of transportation like roller blades. Severe injury and sometimes death can occur when a cyclist runs into a pedestrian.Bicycle-Bicycle Bike Lane Accidents
Additional dangers for bicyclists on bike paths are other cyclists. Bike paths tend to be fairly narrow and do not have directional lanes, and even if they do, they are not necessarily obeyed. A two-bicycle collision can be incredibly damaging for both riders, especially as cyclists lack the protective barrier that a motor vehicle would provide.Bike Lane Defect Accident
Once bike lanes are created they need to be properly maintained. Many municipalities do not do this and it can create many dangerous scenarios for riders and pedestrians alike. Defects on a path surface can lead to falls and crashes when a cyclist swerves to avoid the defects.Taking Legal Action After a Cycling Accident
Bicycle path accidents can cause injuries as serious those sustained while riding on main roadways. Results of a crash – whether you are riding and are hit by another cyclist or if you were a pedestrian hit by a rider- the injuries can be devastating.
The most common injuries include: head injuries, fractures and soft tissue injuries- all of which need medical attention. In the most severe cases, the injuries may cause life-long disabilities. Regardless of the severity of the injuries - victims of these types of accidents should be compensated for their injuries to not only cover medical expenses, but also loss of income and loss of quality of life.
If you have been injured while walking or riding in a bicycle path or hit while riding in a bike lane, please contact the Boston bike accident lawyers at Bellotti Law Group, P.C. Call us today at 617-225-2100 for a free consultation today.