The fear of being in a bicycle crash in Boston is more than justified; in the first quarter of 2016, Boston streets saw 307 injuries and eight deaths related to bicycle crashes. This was a 20 percent increase from the previous year.
Most of these crashes would be easily prevented by the installation of protected bike lanes. In addition to separating bikes from motor vehicles, protected bike lanes also make pedestrians safer by keeping cyclists off sidewalks. Protected bike lanes are not just painted lines; they actually separate bicyclists from other traffic with solid barriers. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
44 Percent of Copenhagen’s Commuters Use Bicycles
When cyclists can ride without fear, more people use cycling as their main mode of transportation, children and seniors included. In addition to being better for the economy and environment, more cyclists means less cars on the road. And considering Boston’s traffic problem, this could be a very good thing for everyone. In Copenhagen, Denmark, for example, nearly half of all commuters use bicycles. This has resulted in reduced traffic congestion, air pollution and noise, and healthier residents.
In Copenhagen, in addition to having protected bike lanes, the city also prioritizes the maintenance of bike lanes over other thoroughfares. For example, when snow needs cleared, the city clears the bike lanes first, followed by pedestrian walkways and – lastly – motor vehicle lanes. The same cannot be said for Boston.
Boston’s painted bike lanes are not as highly respected. Delivery trucks double park in painted bike lanes, and cyclists have no choice but to drive into traffic to get around them. Instead of protecting bike lanes with solid medians and barriers, Boston posts signs urging cyclists and drivers to be friendly to one another, just get along. As a result, cyclists make up only 1.9 percent of Boston’s commuter traffic. This means that the more aggressive cyclists are the ones most likely to make up that 1.9 percent. Unfortunately, those who are brave enough to risk life and limb on Boston’s streets are also those who are more likely to provoke driver rage.
Mayor Walsh and the Boston Transportation Department have established Boston Bikes to combat this problem and make bicycling safer and more affordable for everyone. By 2030, there are projected to be more than one hundred thousand additional commuters in Greater Boston. By creating more protected bike lanes, Boston can reduce some of this economic and environmental strain, keeping everyone safer. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
Bicycle Accident Facts
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicyclists accounted for approximately two percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2014. Bicyclist fatalities are most common between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m., and occur most frequently in urban areas. The vast majority of bicyclist fatalities are young men between the ages of 20 and 24. Just over 20 percent of these fatalities involved a bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Continue reading