As a bicycle enthusiast, you likely make it a point to ride in bike lanes wherever your town, city or county provides them. After all, these painted strips and symbols clearly designate the lane for bike usage only and therefore protect you. Don’t they?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. As reported by People Power Movement, a recent study shows that painted bike lanes do little or nothing to protect you from motor vehicles.
Shocking study revelations
The study looked into the over 18,500 “car-bike overtaking events” that recently occurred in a five-month period. Overall, results showed that car, truck, SUV and bus drivers fail to leave adequate distance between their vehicles and cyclists when passing them.
Specific findings included the following:
- On average, a distance of only 3.5 feet allowed between the motor vehicle and cyclists when passing them on roads with a designated bike lane
- On average, a distance of only 5.5 feet allowed between the motor vehicle and cyclists when passing them on roads without a designated bike lane
- Bus and SUV drivers left less room between their vehicles and cyclists than other drivers regardless of whether or not a bike lane existed
- All motor vehicle drivers left even less room between their vehicles and cyclists on roads with speed limits above 35 mph, regardless of whether or not a bike lane existed
Potentially fatal consequences
It goes without saying that should a motor vehicle hit you while you are riding your bicycle, your bike gives you no protection whatsoever. Such accidents put you at risk of sustaining serious injuries, such as broken bones, crush injuries, amputation injuries and traumatic brain injuries. They can even kill you.