The City of Providence’s decision to remove a recently installed bike lane on Eaton Street has cyclists in Rhode Island up in arms. Providence’s first two-way bike lane, newly completed in early September of this year at a cost of over $63,000, will be dismantled amid concerns and complaints by local residents, for an additional cost of $64,000. Rhode Island bicyclists may have good reason to be upset. The majority of bike accidents occur in urban areas and as bicycle accident lawyers, we know one of the best ways to ensure safety for bicyclists is to have designated, safe cycling lanes. Clearly identified and designated bike lanes are essential to ensure safety for vulnerable cyclists and were included in the City’s “Great Streets Initiative” which proposed 60 mikes of bike lanes, including the new lane on Eaton Street.
When Bikes & Cars Collide
When a bicycle and motor vehicle collide, as expected it’s the person on the bike who bears the brunt of the impact and suffers serious injuries, which are sometimes fatal. Across the U.S., 783 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2017. Despite what many Rhode Islanders feel is a step in the wrong direction with the removal of the Eaton Street bike lane, many cities including Providence are developing plans to make bicycle and pedestrian travel safer in urban areas. Bicycle traffic will increase with these safety initiatives while drivers of cars are more distracted than ever; this makes it more important than ever to have access to an experienced Providence bicycle accident attorney if you are injured. Municipalities across Rhode Island are encouraging more bicycle traffic and designated bike lanes are becoming clearly marked throughout the state making it apparent that bicycles are welcome. Cities and towns will need to do more to make bicycling safer for everyone throughout Rhode Island.
Traffic Light Adjustments Can Reduce Bicyclist Injuries
Some cities are rearranging the way traffic lights work to assist with bicyclist safety. By adjusting traffic lights at intersections, some municipalities are able to offer what is called a green wave to bicyclists. For example, in Brooklyn, NY, where 16 bicyclists have been killed in traffic accidents just this year, the city is experimenting with adjusting traffic lights at intersections allowing cyclists to catch a string of green lights which allows them to move quicker, but also more safely. Yet all is not perfect with the green wave. Many drivers complain it creates more traffic because the average speed of an automobile is reduced in areas where the re-calibration of traffic lights has been adjusted to the benefit of a bicyclist. Rhode Island is very serious about planning for mobility of bicycles and their safety and as bike accident lawyers in RI, Tapalian Law feels the 2018 Bicycle Mobility plan is evidence of the commitment that the state has made to ensure that biking is not only convenient, but safe.
Bicycle Safety Is on You
As a casual cyclist with family, and as an injury attorney, I can’t help but wonder why bicyclists are not more careful. A cyclist certainly cannot control what a driver does with their vehicle, but they can control their own safety. As a personal injury law firm, at Tapalian Law we see horrific injuries to bike riders in Rhode Island. Some of the worst injuries being when an unaware attendant of a parked car opens the driver’s side door in the path of a bicyclist, often referred to as a “dooring”. One way car drivers can prevent a dangerous dooring accident is by practicing the “Dutch Reach”.
Anything that limits the senses of sight and sound should be restricted while riding a bike. As a bike accident attorney in Rhode Island, I am not a fan of air pods or other types of headphones while riding a bike. Ears are one of our most significant senses for safety, whether driving a car or bike, and anything that restricts hearing can make a person more likely to suffer significant injury in a collision. As a person on a bike, use the appropriate lane of travel when navigating the busy, city streets of Providence. Too often cyclists can be seen flying down the road very close to parked cars and traveling much too quickly. Bicyclists should travel in the appropriate lane and maintain a controlled speed and, just like the driver of a car, those on bikes must ride defensively. It is always smart to wear fluorescent or bright colored clothing to be more visible to cars. If riding a bike at dawn, dusk, or at night, safety lights are extremely important as are reflective stickers and/or clothing. Unfortunately, as a bicycle accident lawyer I see many injuries due to bike crashes throughout Rhode Island that could have easily been prevented by being more aware and following simple safety rules.
Helmets Are a Must!
Perhaps most importantly, wearing a proper fitting bicycle helmet is a no-brainer to prevent or reduce injury from a potential bicycle accident. Helmets are required by law of any cyclist ages 15 and younger. We are happy to report that helmet use is up significantly by adults. Even if you’re going for a short ride, wear the helmet! At Tapalian Law, we have encountered a number of bicycle accidents with serious injuries that very easily could have resulted in death, had the cyclist not worn a helmet.
Contact a Bike Accident Lawyer if You Suffer a Bicycle Injury
If you suffer any type of injury in a bike accident, the first, and most important, thing to do is seek medical attention and/or call 911. Once you have sought proper medical treatment and are stabilized, you can then think more critically about your legal rights. If you are safely able, take photographs of the accident scene. If the accident was the fault of someone else, obtain their driver’s license information. If you were struck by a vehicle, take pictures of the license plate and the vehicle make and model. Photos can be extremely helpful and valuable when it comes to proving liability in your potential injury claim. Next, you must speak to a well-qualified bicycle accident attorney in Rhode Island. At Tapalian Law, our Providence personal injury firm has the experience to represent you for bodily harm and property damage you might have suffered due to a cycling accident in Providence or throughout RI or MA. We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim and can assist in accident reconstruction if necessary, to prove that the vehicle driver was at fault for your injuries. We also have access to a wide array of medical professionals that we can refer you to for the best in medical care. Time is the real enemy in a bicycle accident injury case so don’t delay. For a free consultation, contact an injury lawyer today at 401-552-5000, or use our online contact form.