Cyclist Deaths in Indiana: Are Bike Lanes the Answer?
Indiana ranks 10th in the nation for the number of yearly cyclist deaths, marking Indiana as one of the top 10 states for cyclist fatalities per capita.
Bike Lanes Promote Traffic Safety
According to 2019 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports, there were 846 cyclist fatalities in the United States. Most of these deaths occurred in states with temperate climates like California, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas, a fact that is not surprising due to year-round warm weather, lots of sunshine, and year-round outdoor activities. However, colder climate states like Indiana and Delaware that did not fit this profile also made the list. In 2019, Indiana ranked as the 10th worst state in the country for cyclist fatalities.
In the last decade, cycling has become a popular mode of transportation, as well as a means of physical exercise for millions of people in the United States and other countries. Ironically, statistics show that cities with high numbers of cyclists are showing fewer cyclist injuries and deaths. Separated bike lanes are preventing traffic accidents and increasing cyclist safety by implementing safety features such as:
- Lanes designated only for cyclists
- Lanes with physical barriers like steel or concrete posts
- Raised lanes with curbs
- Reduced vehicle speeds of 25 mph
- Alternating traffic signals for cyclists and cars
- Protected transit boarding islands
In recent years, Indianapolis has made great strides in its city infrastructure, especially with the addition of the downtown Cultural Trail and city greenways, but many areas of the city still do not have separated bike lanes. Indiana personal injury attorneys still witness a high rate of cyclist injuries and fatalities. According to the Indy Moves Plan released in 2018, the cost of repairs to the city’s existing transportation infrastructure totals $73 million, not including another $1.6 billion needed for new or repaired sidewalks and separated bike lanes.
Indianapolis has released a series of comprehensive long-term plans with goals for adding city bike lanes, biking and walking paths, and greenways, corridors of protected open space managed for conservation and recreational purposes. The city also has plans for multi-use bike and pedestrian paths separated from moving traffic by barriers or green belts that run alongside city streets. When these infrastructure features are completed, city officials and personal injury attorneys expect to see fewer cyclist deaths in Indiana cities and neighborhoods. Indianapolis and other large cities throughout the state are implementing traffic safety programs that will save lives.