In recent years, there’s been an increase in the installation of bike lanes in cities across the United States. Many nonprofits have long advocated for them as a way to reduce bikers’ fears of becoming involved in crashes. There are some things that motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists could stand to learn about how to use them more effectively though.

Tips for motorists

What many drivers don’t realize is that bicyclists can travel in both directions within a bike lane. It’s important that motorists look both ways when proceeding through intersections, making turns or passing by alleys or driveways so as not to hit them. They also should know that bicyclists have the right-of-way when they’re coming out of alleys and going through uncontrolled intersections.

While it may seem obvious to most, drivers are never supposed to operate their vehicle within a protected bike lane. They can cross it when they make a turn, though, provided that they yield to the cyclists when they do.

Tips for pedestrians

Individuals who walk or ride in their wheelchairs should use a sidewalk whenever possible as opposed to walking within a bike lane. If they wish to cross it as they travel to their parked cars, then they should do so at the crosswalk. They should look both ways for any bicyclists before crossing into the protected bike lane so that they don’t get struck.

Tips for bike riders

Bicyclists who use protected lanes should make those who are walking, wheelchair-bound or riding their bike aware when passing them by giving them an audible signal. Bicyclists should also be alert for parked motorists opening car doors, turning or coming out of alleys or driveways.

Bike riders should always stick to the rightmost portion of these lanes to create an additional buffer between them and passing vehicles as well.

While these bike lanes have helped give bicyclists a stronger sense of safety and have reduced crash rates, everyone can contribute to making them even more effective. Bicyclists must also remain on alert for other hazards that can hurt them including potholes or debris in the roads. Bike riders who are hurt in a crash should take several steps before reaching out to a Los Angeles bicycle accidents attorney for help.