Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

Do bicycle lanes present hazards?

Many California cyclists ride in bike lanes hoping to find a safe haven from the dangers of pedaling around large motor vehicles. However, sometimes automobiles have to make turns into bike lanes, which is just one of a number of possible hazards that bike lanes can present. To properly enjoy a bike lane in the Golden State, cyclists should be on watch for perils that can cause severe injury or death.

Cycling Savvy explains that bike lanes can be a magnet for debris. Pieces of metal, glass, foliage, just about anything you would find in a street can get swept to the side, and since bike lanes reside just up against a curb, they can collect a lot of debris that can cause real trouble for bicycles. Small debris, like broken glass, can puncture a bike tire. Big debris, such as tree branches, may cause a bike to crash if the cyclist cannot turn around it in time.

Some cyclists have worries about bike lanes that run past parked cars. The problem is that a person may pedal a bike past these cars only to have a close encounter with a suddenly opened car door. An abruptly opening door into the path of a cyclist can be very dangerous and can even kill a bike rider. There are also bike lanes that take cyclists into intersections or past many driveways, which increases the danger of a motor vehicle collision if the cyclist cannot remain visible.

There are also places that appear to be bike lanes but are not. Sometimes edge lines are added a few feet to the left of a street curb, but this does not signify a bike lane. The space created by these lines does not create a viable bike lane and can be dangerous if someone takes a bike into this space. Unfortunately, many bicycle riders do not realize these areas are not proper bike lanes.

The perils bike lanes sometimes present is a good reason for cyclists to retain situational awareness. Automobile drivers should also appreciate the delicate position bike riders are in and afford bike riders extra caution, especially when approaching a bike lane, to prevent severe injury and loss of life.

This article is written only as reference material. Do not take it as a substitute for legal advice.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Super Lawyers
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • The Best Lawyers In America
  • American College Of Trial Lawyers
  • Salus Propoli Suprema Lex Esto
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers In America
Email Us For a Response

How Can We Help?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP
44 Montgomery Street
Suite 3340
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: 415-325-2535
Fax: 415.421.0912
San Francisco Law Office Map