Bike lanes can reduce the chance of cycling accidents by creating a dedicated lane for cyclists. However, even when a cyclist avoids other road users and sticks to riding in separated bike lanes, cycling accidents can still occur. Discover more about bike lanes and cycling accidents with the specialist cycling legal team at Cycle SOS.
Are Cycle lanes effective?
Cycle lanes can be an effective way to reduce the number of cycling accidents. According to research from Direct Line Cycling Insurance, the number of cyclists involved in road traffic accidents in Great Britain fell by 10% between 2019 and 2021, as local councils invested in cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes. Over the same time frame, the number of accidents occurring in bike lanes also fell by 14%.
However, incidents and crashes can still occur in bike lanes, especially if other motor vehicles wrongly use the bike lane or if there is an obstruction.
What bicycle accidents can happen in a cycle lane?
Most cycle lanes are known as ‘on-carriageway’ cycle lanes. These are defined by a broken white line, a solid white line or bollards. Off-carriage way cycle lanes are separate from the carriageway, defined by a solid white line or a kerb, and may be shared use with pedestrians.
Take a look at the three most common cycling accidents that can occur in a bike lane.
Cycle lane accidents caused by defects
All bicycle infrastructure, including bike lanes, are subject to S41 of the Highways Act, and undergo safety inspections every six months. If you’re involved in a road traffic accident in a bike lane due to a defect, then the Highway Authority may be potentially liable; unless they are able to prove a reasonable inspection regime, and that the defect was not there upon the last inspection.
Cycle lane accidents caused by poor design
The design of a cycle lane can also cause bicycle accidents. Cycling injuries can occur due to a lack of reflective material on bollards, badly placed street signs and other poor design. The Highway Authority receive guidance on cycle lane design and planning but there is no statutory authority, making it a more difficult process to make a personal injury claim as a result of poor cycle lane design.
Cycle lane accidents caused by other vehicles
Motor vehicles are prohibited by The Highway Code from entering or parking in an on-carriage way cycle lane. Drivers are also encouraged not to park or drive in a cycle lane defined by a broken white line unless unavoidable. However, bike accidents often occur in cycle lanes due to vehicles using them to overtake or park, causing cyclists to swerve into the path of other road users.
When using cycling lanes, remember to stay aware of your surroundings and cycling route. Look out for the swinging doors of parked cars, obstacles in the cycle lane, poor design and defects. Visit Think! For more information on bicycle safety advice.
Make a Bike Lane Accident Claim with Cycle SOS
At Cycle SOS, we have over 30 years of experience winning bike accident claims for cycling injuries. We specialise in bike lane accident claims and can help you to receive compensation for your cycling injury, as well as recover your loss of earnings, medical costs, bike repair or replacement.