“Going Green” Means Risky Business For Bicyclists

Secure Your Load or Pay The Toll
May 21, 2010

With more and more people ditching their cars to ride bicyclists to work, concerns over safety grow as cyclists are forced to share the road with vehicles.

Today marks National Bike Day, a day that attracted 19,000 people to hop on their bicycles last year for their work commute. All in all, you can’t deny that this is a great idea. Carbon dioxide emissions are decreased and people get the added health benefits of exercise. However, with a community striving for green living and more people ditching their cars for bicycles, the issue of safety is hot on their heels.

Our busy urban streets are becoming more crowded than ever which consequently led to five bicyclist deaths and 100 bike-related injuries last year. A bicyclist was trapped under a car on a main arterial in West Seattle just last week. Even pedestrians are at risk with the growing number of bikes and cars on the road. An elderly woman in Auburn was killed last month after being struck by a bicyclist.  At the Law Offices of Kirk Bernard, we see more and more bicycle related accidents as well.

Many bicycle advocates fight for the right to “claim the lane”, or be able to ride in a traffic lane provided they can keep up with the pace of traffic. While this presents a whole network of roads that bicyclists can use, not everyone is an avid biker that can safely navigate traffic with cars. Former mayor of Bogota, Columbia once said, “A bicycle lane that cannot be used by an 8-year-old is not a bike lane; you need a bike way that’s protected.” As of right now, other than the Burke Gilman Trail and a few other local trails, there aren’t many options out there for novice cyclists.

As of right now, Washington State is number one in the country with a gold ranking from the League of American Bicyclists, which ranks states for accommodating bicyclists through policies, programs, trails and signage. However, if our state is number one and we still have serious issues handling cyclists on our roads, I can’t imagine the problems that are popping up across the country in other areas. As a Personal Injury Lawyer Seattle, I hope that the State will start to take the situation seriously and begin creating roads that are more accommodating to bicyclists.  You can read the original article from the Seattle Times here.

Kirk Bernard

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