Bike lanes have become increasingly common across major cities all over the country. One major reason for this is because safety advocates and bicyclists have argued that protected bike lanes, when enforced properly, can decrease the chance of serious injuries.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked at the experiences of nearly 700 cyclists who ended up in emergency rooms in Canada between 2008 and 2009. They found that wide streets with parked cars and no bike infrastructure were the most dangerous for cyclists. Streets that had bike lanes, however, experienced injury rates up to 50% lower and the risk of injury on a protected bike lane was up to 90% lower. Multi-use paths, including off-street trails with skaters, cyclists, and pedestrians were linked to a reduction of injuries of approximately 60%.  Protected bike lanes, therefore, may provide a greater shield to cyclists.

The study also looked at isolated street conditions that raised the risk of injury for cyclists, including streetcar tracks, downhill inclines, and road construction. The presence of these conditions near where accident happen could increase the chance of a cyclist injury by as much as 200%. If you are driving in a protected bike lane or otherwise following the law at the time of an accident and sustained critical injuries because of a driver’s negligence, you may have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim. Bicycle injuries can be severe because you are so exposed to the elements, even when using proper safety gear on your bike. Consulting with a San Diego accident lawyer is a wise next step if you have been hurt because of an accident in protected bike lanes.