Every time you are on the road, regardless of your mode of travel, there is a potential for an injurious accident. Bicyclists are much more likely to be seriously injured in a collision than occupants of cars or trucks as a bike offers scant protection from a forceful impact. Even low-speed crashes can result in major injuries for someone on a bicycle. It’s true that most crashes are the result of some type of negligence, meaning one or more of those involved breached their duty to use reasonable care on the roads. Enforcement of speed limits, anti-distracted driver laws and impaired driving statutes is important. But another effective way to reduce the odds of a serious bicycle accident is to invest in good traffic safety infrastructure. Well-designed bike lanes are an integral part of this.
As explained by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, a bike lane is a portion of the road designated by striping, signage and pavement markings that give bicyclists preferential or exclusive use. The goal is to create some degree of separation between cyclists and motor vehicle traffic so those on bikes can ride at their preferred speed without worrying (too much anyway) about conflict with motor vehicles. It creates better predictability of movements between both drivers and cyclists.