Leisure biking has long been a popular hobby in the U.S., and sports biking as well has commanded a large following in the States. And of course, there are millions of Americans that rely on bicycles to get to and from work every day.
It goes without saying, but America’s roadways must be able to accommodate substantial bike traffic nowadays, and it’s for this reason that large cities across America have started incorporating bicycle lanes. And with studies that prove the benefits of bicycle lanes coming out all the time, there’s never been a better time for incorporation.
If you want to know more about how bicycle lanes can reduce the number of accidents that happen on the roadways, read on!
Bicycle lanes are designed to protect bicyclists from accidents and traffic obstruction, specifically with motorists. They’re often painted with vibrant colors to clearly show they’re not intended for vehicle travel, and most bicycle lanes utilize a simple bicycle symbol to indicate the lane is for bike travel only.
Major cities like New York and Los Angeles have sophisticated bicycle lanes whereas smaller cities and towns mostly use simple designations.
There are significant legal ramifications attached to illegally driving a vehicle in a bicycle lane, and motorists must observe traffic rules related to bicycle lanes to, above all else, ensure the safety of bicyclists traveling in the lanes.
In the state of California, for example, the crime of unlawfully driving on a bike lane carries a fine of $238, and drivers in that state as well receive a point on their record for such an offense.
Bicycle lanes are a much-needed accommodation for bicyclists today, largely because motorists are legally bound to respect the space afforded to bicyclists traveling in bicycle lanes.
Most motorists view bicycle lanes as a public good and not as an unwanted nuisance. In Portland, Oregon, awareness regarding bicycle lanes has caused that city’s road-fatality rate to drop almost 75 percent. Similar results were experienced in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Denver.
When motorists are aware that bicycle lanes actually serve the purpose they were constructed to meet quite well, they’re more likely to respect the lanes and those that use them. And since cycling is only growing in popularity, especially as more and more people endeavor to live sustainable lifestyles, cities and towns must accommodate the growing demand effectively.
Bicycle lanes are usually well designed and maintained properly in the cities and towns that use them, and this latter point is especially important. Without proper maintenance, cyclists may be discouraged from using the bicycle lanes altogether; after all, there’s no reason to travel in the lanes if they’re wholly unsafe because of inadequate maintenance. If the painted bike symbol is no longer visible on the road, especially at night, than drivers will get confused and probably obstruct travel in the lane, potentially hurting cyclists in the process. Most cities and towns that incorporate bicycle lanes have special maintenance divisions for handling bicycle lane upkeep.
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