It isn’t unique to any particular city in this state, but Massachusetts bike-motor vehicle accidents tend to be highest in Boston. No surprise there, given the population density of the state’s capital and the number of employers here. It’s caused by an increasing number of people who live in communities near the city, that don’t want to drive cars to work. I can’t say that I blame them: The traffic jams and parking charges in Boston are both intolerable and unaffordable. Recently, bike safety advocates have held rallies in Boston celebrating “National Ride Your Bike To Work Day,” (that wouldn’t be sponsored by bicycle manufacturers, would it?) complete with posters demanding “Safe Streets Now.”
Not a bad idea to ride a bike to work (assuming it’s not too far,) but with that alternative, comes unavoidable trouble: Cars and bikes are going to collide, and when that happens, the injuries that can result are often pretty serious. City leaders have tried to come up with “solutions” – such a bike-only lanes in traffic – but anyone who thinks such anemic approaches are going to solve this problem, are dreaming. So then, what is a more effective solution? In my view as a Boston bike accident lawyer, as long as cars and bikes can weave in and out of the current scheme for “designated lanes”, collisions will always result. Painting “Bikes Only” or “Vehicles Only” on the streets themselves, will not meaningfully reduce these accidents and injuries. Let’s face it: When you’re driving, are you staring down at the asphalt to see what markings might be there? The honest answer is that most drivers don’t – so they could be in a lane that’s marked “Bikes Only,” and still hit a bicyclist.
The only real way that demarcating lanes for bikes only is going to work, would be to erect barriers between vehicular and bike lanes, so that a car or truck cannot cross over into a bikes-only lane, or make a turn into one either. And doing something like this takes big money: Think of the hundreds of miles of streets and roads this would have to be done on.