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August 2019

How to stay safe in the dedicated bicycle lane

Denver is the perfect place for anyone who loves cycling. After all, is anything better than getting some exercise while seeing Mount Evans rise above the city’s skyline on a clear autumn day? While bicycling may be one of your treasured pastimes, it is not without risk. As you likely know, a bicycle accident may leave you with serious injuries.

The summer has not exactly been kind to metro-area riders. In fact, after a recent spate of rider fatalities, cycling enthusiasts have decided to fight back by taking to local roadways in protest. Meanwhile, 9News has tried to alert both motorists and riders of the importance of dedicated bicycle lanes. While riding in a bike lane is often safer than trying to maneuver through Denver’s crowded streets, dedicated lanes are not without their risks.

Follow the marked direction of travel 

Bike lanes in and around the Mile High City are often on public roadways. Whether a barrier or just a painted line separates you from traffic, you must always follow the marked direction of travel. Because drivers and other cyclists expect you to travel with the flow of traffic, riding against traffic may put your life in danger.

Look twice before leaving the dedicated lane 

Occasionally, you must depart the bike lane to ride on the regular roadway. When you do, though, be sure to leave plenty of time to look twice for oncoming traffic. If you are exiting the lane to make a turn, try to make eye contact with motorists. Doing so decreases your chances of having a collision.

Add a light and some reflectors 

Because city planners often intentionally locate bike lanes outside of driving lanes, motorists may not expect to encounter you and your bicycle. As such, you must do what you can to increase your visibility. Adding a front light and flashing rear light gets the job done. You may also want to invest in additional reflectors if you regularly ride after dark.

When you use them properly, dedicated bicycle lanes keep you safe. Of course, as a cyclist, you must also do your part. By committing to using bike lanes responsibly, you can likely arrive at your destination without incident.

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