Bicycle accidents in bike friendly community spurs concern

Minnesota residents may not be aware that only 15 communities in their state are considered bicycle friendly and one of those communities still has a number of improvements to make in order to become even more bicycle friendly, according to a study. The city asked for the study to be conducted because of a recent increase in bicycle and pedestrian accidents in a specific area.

The study was looking at streets’ vehicular capacity as one of the factors contributing to accidents, and determined that those streets that give drivers too much room result in drivers driving too quickly and passing other drivers at a higher speed as well. They also take turns faster and pass drivers in the parking lane and this contributes to bicycle accidents in the area. In fact, the study observed that bicyclists were riding in the sidewalks because they were not comfortable with the conditions on these roads.

When bicyclists travel on sidewalks they become less visible to drivers at intersections and this may be the reason that most collisions take place at intersections. In addition to this, in areas where cyclists have to ride in areas shared with parking, cyclists run the risk of being hit by opening doors or swerving suddenly as cars park.

Creating separate lanes for bicyclists is one way to reduce bicycle accidents and another could be to increase visibility of speed limits and signs indicating residential areas. Drivers should also adhere to speed limits and pay attention to other vehicles and bicycles on the road.

As this particular city’s experience demonstrates, despite creating bicycle friendly conditions, bike accidents still take place and bicyclists end up getting hurt due to their exposure to outside elements. When a crash does take place, victims or their loved ones could consider filing a civil suit against the negligent party and getting compensated for medical expenses.

Source: Winona Daily News, “Safer streets, safer people: Winona looks at improving safety of major corridors,” Marcia Ratliff, May 3, 2015