The average sedan’s driver-side door arcs four feet outward when fully extended. Why does this statistic matter? If you live in Massachusetts and ride a bike in any of its urban cities, you’ll want to prepare for the off-chance that a rushing commuter whips his door open at the last second. In light of warmer months, it’s the perfect time to think about proper bike lane habits.
When a driver opens his or her door suddenly, there is little time for the bicyclist to brake. In 2016 a woman was fatally struck by a landscaping truck while riding her bike through Inman Square in Cambridge. Swerving to avoid a parked car’s open door, the bicyclist entered the street where the truck collided with her at full speed. Sometimes a bicycle injury has more to do with the placement of a bike lane than anything else.
Adding More Bike Lanes
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has recommended that cities construct protected bike lanes to decrease the risk which motorists pose to bicyclists. The issue lies in the planning of Boston’s architecture. While cities such as New York can implement solutions to street layout in a relatively uniform way, Boston (as well as other major cities in Massachusetts) needs to create bike lane solutions which differ across each street. This difference means it will take state and city departments of transportation longer to implement permanent solutions for bike lane safety.
Image: The above image is a rendering of the proposed Mass Ave protected bike lane from the Harvard Bridge to Symphony.
5 Tips for a Safer Bicycle Commute
- Study Hotspots: Areas such as Inman Square and Porter Square in Cambridge are notoriously congested, and therefore, dangerous to bicyclists. Keep an eye out for such areas in your route and be sure to exercise extra caution while riding there.
- Slow Down: Most avoidable accidents in the bike lane take place because the bicyclist didn’t have enough time to react. When riding on main streets, stick to the middle of the bicycle lane and pump the brakes a bit.
- Suit Up: Accidents are called accidents because they go unplanned. Make sure you’re adequately protected by a strong, secure, and comfortable bicycle helmet.
- Know your Lane: Riding alongside other bicyclists can prove tricky. Make sure you’re aware of bicyclists both in front of and behind you. You’ll be prepared to move if someone’s door flies open unexpectedly.
- Keep up to Speed: Keep track of developments in your town towards building safer bike lanes. If there isn’t one, ask why. You deserve a safe commute from beginning to end as a bicyclist, make sure that your town or city representative knows it.
Ride with Confidence in the Bike Lane
Peter Ventura has extensive experience in this area of practice and has helped his clients realize significant compensation in personal injury cases over the years. For peace of mind during a steady bike ride, retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Peter Ventura toll-free at 888-251-7535 for a free and always confidential consultation today.