With the growing interest in biking around the city and surrounding areas, Kansas City is developing new strategies and implementing new techniques to try to reduce bike accidents. This is important as the warmer weather arrives, inviting everyone to get out and ride their bicycles. However, the city still has a long way to go when it comes to keeping bicyclists safe, but any effort is better than no effort.
What is Kansas City, MO currently doing to keep cyclists safe?
In May 2020, the City Council in Kansas City, MO passed a plan called the Vision Zero Action Plan. The goal of this plan is to “eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries on our streets by 2030, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for everyone.” That said, the city has begun working on developing safer streets and communities for everyone to enjoy.
The Vision Zero plan officially started in early 2021 and has made several efforts to increase safety among bicyclists. Here are a few of the improvements being made:
- Intersection videos being installed at a few different locations for bicyclists
- Intersection improvements based on reports of injuries and crashes at certain locations
- Upgrading traffic signals
- Placing speed humps in over 50 different locations across the city to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety
- Creating over 30 miles of protected bicycle lanes
Kansas City implemented an ordinance called Complete Streets, which passed at the end of 2017. The goal of this ordinance is to make sure everyone, including bicyclists, can travel on and use the streets of Kansas City, MO. Therefore, if an individual does not have access to a car, the ordinance ensures that they can use the sidewalks and bicycle paths to access activities, employment, and other essentials around the city.
Does Kansas City, MO require cyclists to wear a helmet?
Kansas City does not require cyclists to wear helmets. However, if you get on a bicycle, it is strongly recommended that you wear a safety-certified bicycle helmet to prevent head and skull injuries as well as death. Bicycle accidents can lead to skull fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries. Therefore, you should always protect your head before getting on a bicycle. If you choose not to do this, you are putting yourself at risk of a catastrophic head injury that could lead to life-threatening consequences.
What else could Kansas City, MO do to reduce bike accidents?
While Kansas City has made several efforts to reduce bike accidents, there is still so much more that can be done. Here are a few ideas that the city should consider when trying to keep cyclists safe:
- Implement a three-feet passing distance law across the city: This will ensure that vehicles have enough room to safely pass cyclists when sharing the road.
- Create more and better bike lanes: Even though Kansas City has created many bike lanes across the city, there needs to be more and better ones for cyclists to get around more easily.
- Lower the speed limit in certain areas where cyclists are known to ride: If there are certain areas of the city where cyclists are known to congregate, there should be a lower speed limit to ensure that drivers are not speeding around them. The speed limit should be 25 mph or less.
- Develop an app for Kansas City cyclists: Other cities have created apps for bicyclists to give their feedback about certain conditions on the roads. Kansas City, MO could benefit from an app like this as well. Cyclists give their opinions on specific things such as sharp turns, speeding, distractions, potholes, and more. When the city sees this feedback, they can work on improving road conditions for cyclists.
- Install traffic light cameras: When vehicles do not come to a complete stop or run red lights, they may collide with a bicyclist. Therefore, if traffic light cameras are installed, they may be less likely to speed through red lights.
What are the benefits of protected bike lanes?
According to a study published by ScienceDaily, protected bike lanes reduce fatalities for all drivers and road users. That said, the bike lanes in Kansas City not only keep bicyclists safe, but they also help keep automobile drivers and pedestrians safe as well. One of the main reasons for this is because bicycle lanes slow down traffic, which is a necessity when it comes to sharing the roads. Some of the other benefits of protected bike lanes mentioned by the Federal Highway Administration are:
- More comfortable experience for less-skilled riders
- Increased access to jobs, schools, healthcare, and other essentials
- More access to employment opportunities
- Increased access to public transportation
Tips for cyclists sharing the roads with automobiles
Although drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles with reasonable care and ensure that bicyclists are safe while sharing the roads, there are a few tips that cyclists can use to increase their safety, such as:
- Always wear your helmet.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Make sure you look ahead instead of down while riding your bicycle.
- If you are riding with other cyclists, do not ride beside each other. Instead, ride in a single file line to give automobile drivers space to pass by you.
- Ride with the traffic. Do not ride against it.
- If you know that a road is busier at a certain time, try to avoid that road during peak times.
- Make sure your bicycle is always maintained and up to date before riding it.
- Always use hand signals before stopping, turning, or switching lanes.
- Do not look at your cell phone or listen to headphones while riding a bicycle.
- Ride your bicycle with both hands on the handlebars.
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we have seen clients with various injuries from bicycle accidents, such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, eye injuries, internal bleeding, organ damage, and more. Therefore, our team knows that these types of accidents can be traumatic, devastating, and costly, which is why you need an attorney with experience, skills, and knowledge to protect your legal rights and make sure the right person is held accountable.
Our bicycle accident attorneys are available anytime at our Kansas City, MO office, and we are available by appointment at our Lee’s Summit, Parkville, St. Joseph, Olathe, Overland Park, and Kansas City, KS offices. Please do not hesitate to call our office or complete our contact form today, and we will gladly assist you.
We know that it can feel as if there’s no end in sight when you’re living with a serious injury. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we’re on your side from day one. We’ll not only fight for your best interests, but we’ll help you process and deal with your injury along the way. Our personal injury lawyers handle the insurance company for you, and make sure that you find the tools and resources you need to move forward. When you need an experienced, compassionate Kansas City personal injury lawyer, we answer the call.