Bicycling is a pastime enjoyed not just by children, but an increasing number of adults, as well. In fact, the number of Americans who bike to work every day has increased by 60% over the last decade. That’s great news for the environment and for anyone looking to get more exercise. But with the increased number of cyclists on the road, comes an increased risk of danger.
In 2013, more than 900 bicyclists were killed in the U.S. and an additional 494,000 were sent to emergency departments with crash-related injuries. Reports from 2010 indicate fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists generated medical expenses and lost productivity amounting to $10 billion.
But exactly what can a municipality do to protect cyclist safety in Colorado?
Many cities in Canada and the U.S. have implemented a system called the “sharrow.” In lieu of a designated bike lane, these road-markings depict the image of a bicycle and arrows indicating the direction of the flow of traffic in lanes shared by motorists and cyclists.
However, a recent study conducted by the University of Colorado has determined that sharrows don’t have much of an impact on cyclist safety.
Researchers Nick Ferenchak and Wesley Marshall reviewed safety outcomes for places in Chicago with bike lanes, locations where sharrows were implemented, and places where no bicycle treatments were used. Their conclusion was that sharrows did very little to foster cycling or make it safer- designated bike lanes, however, did.
Using Census block groups, the researchers divided Chicago into three geographic classifications: Those where bike lanes were added between 2008 and 2010, those where sharrows were added, and those that received no bicycle treatment. They compared the areas to see how the changes affected bike commuting and cyclist injuries.
The researchers determined that the addition of designated bike lanes more than doubled the number of commuters. The areas that received sharrows witnessed only a 27 percent increase in bike commuter traffic, and traffic increased by 43 percent in the areas with no treatment.
How were bicycle injury rates affected? Injuries to commuting cyclists decreased by 42 percent in areas where bike lanes were implemented. Sharrows facilitated a 20 percent decrease in injured cyclists and the areas that received no treatment documented a 36 percent decrease in injuries to commuting cyclists.
Although the researchers concede that calculating the number of bicycle commuters who live in a particular area is different from tallying the number of individuals who actually bike on those streets, the data is still compelling evidence that sharrows are largely ineffective and that designated bike lanes must be added to our infrastructure.
Contact Our Pueblo Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Pueblo, you may be dealing with serious and life-changing injuries. When this occurs, you need an experienced and skilled Pueblo bicycle accident lawyer on your side. Bicyclists face a difficult road ahead because insurance companies often try to pin some of the blame on the cyclist themselves. They may claim you darted out in traffic or were riding recklessly. An experienced Pueblo bicycle accident lawyer can fight to secure the maximum compensation for you after a serious accident. Call Pueblo attorneys at Smith & Smith, today for a FREE CONSULTATION – (719) 544-0062.