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Seattle, Washington

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Chelsea Gilbert
Chelsea Gilbert
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Hot Topic: Bike Safety in Urban Environments

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The recent rash of bike-car collisions, including the recent death of a young Seattle bicyclist in a collision with a dump truck, has brought a renewed focus to bike safety.

While it is easy to assign blame in these collisions, to a rider who didn’t wear a helmet or a driver who didn’t correctly yield, it is more productive to focus on changes that can be made to prevent future bike-car collisions.

There have been several suggestions as to how to make the streets safer for cyclists. One suggestion is to designate parts of particularly dangerous streets as “blue lanes,” so called because they consist of a bike lane painted a solid blue color to indicate a location where bike-car collisions are common. Such lanes are used in European countries and have been found to have a significant impact on reducing bike-car crashes. According to a study done in Portland, the implantation of blue lanes dramatically increased the percentage of drivers who yielded to bikes as well as increasing the chances that a cyclist would follow the “recommended” path.

Another suggestion is to install a traffic light that allows only cyclists to pass through an intersection. This bike signal head is used in Davis, California where it has reportedly resulted in a dramatic drop in collisions between cyclists and drivers.

As more and more people decide to use their bicycles instead of cars it’s inevitable that there will be more bicycle v. car and truck accidents. It’s important that people injured in these accidents retain counsel familiar with the unique issues associated with bicycling in urban environments.

Read more: Erica Barnett, World Changing

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.