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Bicycle Injury Rates Go Down When Cities Have Bikes-Only Lanes, Says Study

According to a new study published in Injury Prevention, there is a 28% lower injury rate for bicyclists when they cycle in bike-only tracks that are physically separate from street traffic than when they ride right next to motor vehicles. Considering that designated bike lanes are not common in the United States-usually a painted stripe in the road is what separates a bicycle lane from the rest of traffic-these findings are important to consider.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 51,000 bicyclists injured in collisions with motor vehicles in 2009. That’s a lot of people hurt. As our Boston bicycle accident lawyers have mentioned in the past, it doesn’t help that bicyclists only have helmets and protective clothing to keep them safe during a collision with a large truck or another vehicle.

The study’s team, headed by Harvard School of Public Health research associate Anne Lusk, reports that in the Netherlands, where there are about 18,000 miles of bicycle-only tracks, the bicycle injury rate is 26 times lower than in the US-where there are only about 20 miles of bikes-only lane. The researchers note that the lack of safe cycling tracks could be contributing to the car-favored culture in the US. Surveys show that many Americans-especially seniors, woman, and parents riding with kids-are scared to ride their bikes on roads where there is plenty of traffic.

Under state law, bicyclists injured in Massachusetts traffic crashes get up to $8,000 in personal injury protection regardless of who was at fault. That said, this may not be enough to cover surgery expenses, hospital bills, rehabilitation services, lost wages from time off work, and other costs and damages.

With the serious and costly injuries that can result, it is important that Boston bicycle accident victims and their families explore their legal options right away. This is a city that could still use more bike lanes. That said, according to the Boston Globe, 20 miles of bike lanes were added last year-that’s 35 miles of bike lanes added in three year. Also, another 1600 bike owned parking spaces on hitch racks have been installed in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Separate Bikes-Only Lanes in Cities Cut Injury Rate: Study, Business Week, February 17, 2011
Cyclists found a friendlier Boston in 2010, Boston.com, January 27, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Injury Prevention

Bike Safety, City of Boston

More Boston Injury Blog Posts:

74-year-old Bicyclist Killed in Boston, Boston Car Accident Lawyer, January 26, 2011
12-year-old Boy Hit by Car While Riding his Bike in Lowell, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 2, 2010
Martha’s Vineyard Truck Accident Kills Bicyclist, Boston Car Accident Lawyer, July 9, 2010
Contact our Boston injury law firm and ask for a free case evaluation.