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What should I beware of when riding in bike lanes?

Although bike riding can be a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoor weather, it does not come without some risk of serious injury from a collision with a motor vehicle. That is why some communities provide bike lanes to separate bicycles from other traffic. Still, riding in a bike lane is no time to let down your guard. As explained by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, here is a look at dangers to watch out for while riding in a bike lane.

Even when riding in a bike lane, be alert to the actions of nearby motor vehicles. Some bike lanes run alongside a turning lane, and if you are not careful, you could end up in the blind spot of a turning vehicle. While vehicles are supposed to yield to cyclists before making a turn, motorists who do not see a bicycle approaching may turn right and cut right in front of the bike rider.

Potential dangers with motor vehicles do not stop when you close in on a car or truck that is parked off to the side of the road. Some vehicles are parked so close to bike lanes that a driver or passenger could open a door right into the bike lane. If you ride at a high speed and a door suddenly opens in front of you, you will likely not have the time to slow down and could collide with the door. Bike riders should be aware of this danger and ride slowly when near parked vehicles.

Some bicycle riders think they are better off by riding in a bike lane in the opposite direction of nearby traffic. However, riding the wrong way on a bike lane is not only against the law, but very dangerous. Riding against traffic increases the odds of colliding with a vehicle that is approaching, plus you could collide with a cyclist who is riding the correct way on the bike lane.

In some instances, you will likely have to depart a bike lane and enter a road with motorized traffic. In any of these instances, checking around you to make sure the way is clear is crucial and could save your life. If you merge left, check behind you. If your lane cuts off at an intersection, check over the left shoulder to spot approaching traffic. If you are worried about motorists seeing you and your bike, investing in reflectors and bike lights is a smart move and can help out, especially during night riding.

This article is written only to provide general information on this topic. Do not interpret it as legal advice for your situation.

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