Mayor elect of Chicago Rahm Emanuel has stated that he will prioritize the construction of protected bike lanes for certain Chicago streets. As Chicago injury lawyers, the law firm of Zneimer & Zneimer has handled many cases for bicyclists who were hit by cars or by car doors opening while riding in the painted bike lanes. In short, painted bike lanes offer little or no protection for bicyclists. Some cities such as Portland, Oregon and Montreal, Canada offer extensive networks of protected bike lanes rather than just a simple line demarcating a dedicated lane on the street. Protected bike lanes are different from dedicated bike lanes because they use a buffer such as parked cars, a raised curb or flower planters to separate bicycle traffic from automobile traffic.
A new study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health confirms that protected bike lanes are safer. Researchers studied nine years of crash report data from Montreal’s extensive network of protected bike lanes and found that injuries were 28 percent lower on protected bike lanes than on comparable roads without protected bike lanes.
Protected bike lanes would make sense in Chicago, especially for the the streets that have a high volume of bicyclists commuting to work downtown in the morning. If there were protected bike lanes on these routes, bike traffic would certainly increase substantially.