Controversy Over Providence’s New Protected Bike Lane

9a90a86c2ae2d5864366b3108eeff17a-300x200Recently completed, a two-way protected bike lane on South Water Street is facing both wide support as well as opposition from local residents, businesses, and city officials.  Part of Providence’s Great Street Initiative, which proposed adding 60 miles of bike lanes, the new bike lane debuted this fall with an aim of making the city streets safer and more environmentally friendly. The majority of bike accidents take place in urban areas, and as a personal injury lawyer in Providence, Attorney David Tapalian understands the danger bicyclists and pedestrians face when sharing the road with cars, trucks, and SUV’s. A bike is no match for a heavy motor vehicle and a collision between the two will all too often result in severe injury, or death, for the bicyclist.

Part of Providence Great Streets Initiative

Dubbed by supporters as an “urban trail”, the two-way lane on South Water Street can be used by bicycles and other non-car modes of transportation, such as scooters. Ideally, it will allow a safer mode of transportation for, and reduce the risk of injury to, bicyclists and other pedestrians. In addition to improved safety, supporters tout health and climate benefits as well as the project’s ability to attract people to the city and improve the quality of life for residents. Having a safer option for those seeking alternative modes of transportation to work or school, as well as those seeking to use the lane for recreation or exercise will allow users to explore more environmentally friendly options.

Clearly marked and designated bike lanes are essential to ensure the safety of vulnerable cyclists, outlines the City’s Great Streets Initiative, whose goal is to make every street in the city safe, clean, healthy, and vibrant. One such project, a two-way bike lane on Eaton Street in Providence, was unsuccessful due to local opposition and cost the city over $100,000 to build, and then dismantle, the project.

Bike Lane Opposition

According to the NHTSA, 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2019. Despite this startling statistic and the fact that 78% of these bike fatalities occurred in urban areas, the Providence bike lane project still faces much opposition. Most of the criticism is due to the removal of a traffic lane on South Water Street to make way for the new, designated path for bicycles. Opponents complain this will cause too much traffic in an already congested area and lead to more injuries.

A recent article compared the opposition to the South Water Street project to the opposition the East Bay Bike path project faced in 1983. At the time, naysayers claimed the proposed path was a safety risk and would promote crime. Alas, the East Bay Bike path was created and has been a huge boon to an area which has become increasingly safer over the years. In contrast, the East Bay Bike path was built on a former railway and did not block any existing traffic lanes at the time which tends to be the main concern with the new Providence project.

Tapalian Law Can Help You After an Accident in Providence RI

As a personal injury attorney in Providence who has handled numerous serious bike accident injury cases, Attorney Tapalian is always interested in hearing about initiatives to purportedly make the streets of Providence safer to both motor vehicle drivers and the bicyclists and other pedestrians sharing the road.  David has helped hundreds of people hurt in car accidents, bike crashes, motorcycle collisions, and other types of accidents, throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Florida, for over two decades. If you’ve been hurt, seek medical help immediately. Then, contact our top-rated Providence personal injury firm to determine your eligibility to seek compensation from the party responsible for your injuries. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.  Rhode Island personal injury claims are subject to a three-year statute of limitations, a deadline in which a personal injury claim must be filed, so it’s critical to seek legal help as soon as possible after your accident. With a main office conveniently located in downtown Providence with free parking, we are easily accessible to our clients all over RI and MA. If you are too injured to come to us, we will come to you. Call Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000 to schedule a free consultation.

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