Bike lanes not top factor in bike safety

(Photo: David B. Gleason / Flickr)(Photo: David B. Gleason / Flickr)

Bicycles have become more popular in recent years, with more bike routes approved each year, cities implementing laws to protect cyclists and even a ranking system in place to declare which state is most bike-friendly.

With the growth of bicycle commuting, cities are working to add bike lanes to accommodate cyclists and make their travels safer.

However, according to a report from Oregon Live, dedicated bike lanes are not the most important factors in bicycle safety.

The findings, which come from a University of Buffalo study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine last month, show that lighting, speed and alcohol use are more important factors to consider in reducing the severity of injuries in bike-motor vehicle accidents.

While bike lanes do play an important role in preventing collisions between bikes and motor vehicles, factors “including the speed of motor vehicles traveling near them and how much light there is” are more important in reducing the severity of those crashes, Dietrich Jehle, the study’s co-author and professor of emergency medicine in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and at Erie County Medical Center told UB Reporter.

The study suggests that the focus for bike safety should be on making changes to vehicle speed, alcohol use and lighting more than on dedicated bike lanes.