Austin boasts a large number of bike lanes and is often regarded as one of the best cities for cycling. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or an up-and-coming amateur, you’ll find that bike lanes offer a large sense of security. These lanes, however, may not always be safe. Many factors could play a role in you leaving the bike lane, such as trying to avoid parked cars. There are many other instances where you might be better off using the car lane, which will be detailed below.
Bike Lanes: Leaving the Comfort Zone
Take Your Place in Traffic
When you approach an intersection and are looking to travel straight, you might assume staying on the bike lane is the best thing to do. The truth is, when in this situation, you must take the straight-through lane along with other vehicles to allow cars who are turning right to do so without having to wait for you. The same applies if you’re turning left. Leave the comfort of the bike lane and make your way to the left-most turning lane. Do this with care by watching out for vehicles before making a move and be sure to signal so motorists know what you’re doing.
Parked cars are a constant threat to a cyclist’s overall feeling of safety. If you see a car parked up ahead, merge into the traffic lane and give yourself five to seven feet of clearance from the parked vehicles to avoid being hit by an opening door. Additionally, if you see debris in your path, it’s legal and safest to move into the traffic lane. Always remember to merge close to the speed other motorists are traveling only after it’s safe to approach.
The truth is, drivers can do many things (talk on their phones, text, eat, etc.) that can keep them from paying attention to cyclists. Most car/bike accidents occur due to motorists not seeing the rider, so do your best to stay visible. Avoid hiding close to the curb of the road and instead, ride as close to the traffic lane as possible. At times, you may even be safer riding in the traffic lane instead of the bike lane, but always remember the five simple rules of riding:
- Be visible
- Stay alert
- Be predictable
- Remain assertive
- Exercise courtesy
Unfortunately, there are times when accidents occur no matter which precautions you take. In moments like these, the Greenway Law Firm has you covered. An accident with a vehicle can be catastrophic, potentially altering the way you live your life. Throw medical bills, loss of wages and therapy sessions into the mix and you may suffer from more than just physical pain.
Our personal injury attorney has a reputation for providing top-notch legal representation for victims of negligent actions. Let our legal team hear your story and evaluate every piece of evidence and information to create a solid legal plan. For more information about our legal services, contact our office in Austin today.