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Safer Roads: DOT Focuses on Bike Accident Prevention

Bicyclist safety features and infrastructure vary by city and state. Whether city planners have included bike paths, signals, bike lanes and necessary stop lights at intersections can impact how safe the streets are for cyclists. The U.S. Department of Transportation is now focused on increasing bike safety nationwide to improve roadways and to prevent future accidents and injuries. A new comprehensive approach is intended to improve safety for all roadway users, including bicyclists pedestrians, wheelchair users, transit passengers, and motorists.

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In Boston and nationwide, cities and towns are focusing on improving bike safety and in making cycling a viable transportation option for residents. Our Boston bicycle accident attorneys are dedicated to raising awareness on issues that impact cyclist safety. We are also committed to keeping motorist and cyclists informed on local, state and federal issues that may impact biker safety. This current federal trend will likely have an impact on our local roadways and could improve safety to reduce accidents.

Bicycle accidents continue to be a leading cause of traffic death on our nation’s roadways. According to the NHTSA, there were 677 pedal cyclists killed in 2011. In addition to these fatalities, there were another 48,000 motor vehicle accident injuries. The percentage of bicyclists killed is 9 percent higher than in 2010. Sixty-nine percent of the fatalities occurred in urban areas while 59% occurred at non-intersections. The majority of accidents occurred during rush hour from 4 until 8 p.m.

Where in the past, federal funding focused specifically on designing roadways for private motorists, the Obama administration and the Department of Transportation is now turning its attention to alternative forms of transportation, including bicycling and public transport. While cities and towns have primarily been responsible for keeping bikers safe, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also recognizes the importance of improving roadways at the federal level.

Transitioning from a focus on motorists to the importance of safety for bicyclists reflects a common trend nationwide as more commuters are riding to work. As populations continue to rise, an increasing number of residents will rid a bicycle as a primary form of transportation. This means that road safety is going to become an even more pressing issue for local, state and federal lawmakers and city planners. According to the League of American Bicyclists, a 2013 report indicated that one-third of bikers make less than $30,000 per year. These people are riding their bikes as a necessary means of getting to and from work. Safety advocates and politicians see it as a safety issue, as well as an economic one, giving cyclists more equality on the roads.

Though the local, state, and federal government may be making a greater effort to create safer roads and infrastructure, the effects of these investments may not have an impact for years or decades. Cyclists will continue to be at risk when sharing the roads with motorists. Drivers should always be wary of other cyclists. Cyclists are also required to follow the same rules of the road as other drivers. When getting out of a car, always be wary of cyclists who may be coming through on a bike lane. Cyclists who are involved in an accident should consult with an advocate and recover compensation for injuries and losses resulting from driver negligence.

If you were involved in a Boston car accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:
Boston Bicyclists and the Risk of Road Rage, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 25, 2014

Distractions Endangering Teen Drivers More Than Older Motorists
, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 25, 2014