If you cycle in the Houston area, you know that Houston offers nearly 1,800 miles of dedicated bike lanes. But are you completely safe when riding in them?
People Power Movement reports that, unfortunately, bike lanes do very little to keep you safe from being hit by a motor vehicle driver. And it goes without saying that if one of these vehicles hits you, you likely will sustain serious injury.
Bike lane statistics
Based on the results of a recent study, vehicle drivers behave as follows when passing a bicyclist:
- When no bike lane exists, they leave an average of 5.5 feet between themselves and the cyclist.
- When a bike lane exists, they leave an average of only 3.5 feet between themselves and the cyclist.
- Drivers of large vehicles, such as SUVs, vans and trucks, leave the least amounts of room between themselves and the cyclist, whether or not a bike lane exists.
- Drivers on roads with narrower lanes or higher speed limits leave very little room between themselves and the cyclist, whether or not a bike lane exists.
Since you cannot rely on a dedicated bicycle lane to keep you safe while riding your bike, your wisest course of action consists of remaining super vigilant whenever you ride. Ride as far as possible to the right of the road. Do not listen to music or anything else while riding. Make good use of your rear view mirror so as to know when a car or other vehicle is approaching you from behind. Perhaps most important of all, always wear a helmet.