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Are bike lanes safer or more dangerous for New York riders?

See if you can wrap your mind around this: a medical study claims that New York’s bicycle lanes make riding in the city both safer and more dangerous.

The study, presented recently at a gathering of the American College of Emergency Physicians, reaches this seemingly contradictory conclusion, according to WBUR-FM. And the lead researcher admits he has no solution, except to study the phenomenon more.

The study focused on New York City streets both before and after bike lanes were added. It found that riders were actually more likely to sustain a severe injury in a collision with a motor vehicle after the bike lane is painted in, based on admission data at Bellevue Hospital Centers’ emergency department.

The lead author believes that many bike lanes are poorly designed, and that motorists sometimes cause accidents through reckless or negligent behavior. However, he also believes that bike lanes are “definitely beneficial,” because they allow more bikers to shorten their commutes.

There are “hot spots” at the ends of bridges and tunnels that are especially dangerous for bikers, and the author believes that barriers may help keep them safer. Beyond that, he has no proposals on bike safety in the city.

Riders know that just because there is a lane on the road designated for them, it does not mean all motorists will respect it. Then there is the problem of people in parked cars suddenly opening their doors right in front of you, giving you no time to get out of the way. Riding a bike can be risky, but when a negligent motorist causes you harm, he or she can be held accountable in court.

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