I Want To Ride My Bicycle

by: Colin E. Flora

      Freddy Mercury famously sang, “I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride it where I like.” As the warm weather approaches central Indiana more and more Hoosiers are beginning to echo the sentiment of the late Queen front man. With an office located in the heart of Broad Ripple, the attorneys here at Pavlack Law are no exception to the great number of Hoosiers who enjoy bicycling on a nice warm day. That is one of the many reasons we decided to locate ourselves just off of the Monon Trail.

      Over the past several years Indianapolis and the surrounding area have seen tremendous growth in the number of bicycle lanes in an effort to make bicycle traffic safer and more well accommodated throughout Marion County. Currently, the City of Indianapolis has 63.89 miles of on-street bike lanes with a plan in place to expand that number to 200 miles within the next 12 years. Despite the undeniable benefits that a community such as Indianapolis receives from the increase in bicycle accessibility the growth in the number of bike lanes has not gone off completely without a hitch.

      The changes to the traditional street layout in several parts of the city have led to traffic jam and a danger of increased road rage. Brad Edwards, in an article for Wish TV entitled “Broad Ripple Drivers Balk at Lost Lanes,” identifies 62nd Street in Broad Ripple as a particularly problematic area. According to an article for WTHR the city has already received over 100 complaints about the new bike lanes.

      While the articles on the bike lanes have generally focused on the frustration of many automobile drivers, the attorneys at Pavlack Law know that the greatly overlooked issue is the very serious risk for personal injury. There can be little doubt that when an automobile and bicyclist collide the automobile is in the much better position to absorb the collision. It is out of this fear that we here at Pavlack Law decided to author this blog post. Sadly, while writing this piece, the Indianapolis Star reported on their website that a bicyclist on the Monon Trail had been struck by an automobile while crossing 54th Street. This occurrence just underscores the serious risk for injury arising from automobile and bicycle collisions.

      According to statistics for 2009 assembled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 630 individuals were killed as a result of bicycle and automobile collisions. The data also bears out an alarming statistic of 51,000 injuries in bicycle and motor vehicle collisions. While the 51,000 figure covers a wide range of injuries, the very nature of bicycle-automobile collisions makes the likelihood of serious injuries, medical damages, and lost wages extremely high. While we as attorneys are not in a position to prevent these injuries from occurring we are in a position to help once they have happened with years of experience fighting for the rights of injured people.

      We would like to remind the bicyclists out there to be careful while bicycling be it in a bike lane, on the Monon, or while operating on a street. Remember to wear appropriate protective gear and be cognizant of pedestrians and other traffic and most importantly always be safe. No amount of money or care will ever be sufficient to completely make an injured person whole. The best thing you can do is to try and protect yourself. However, once injury has occurred find the best medical care for your injuries and then find a lawyer who has experience in helping injured people, knows Indiana law, and can zealously advocate to protect your rights. We are here for you right in the heart of Broad Ripple if you need us.

      Below is a video produced by the City of Indianapolis in conjunction with the bike lane initiative.

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*Disclaimer: The author is licensed to practice in the state of Indiana. The information contained above is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Laws vary by state and region. Furthermore, the law is constantly changing. Thus, the information above may no longer be accurate at this time. No reader of this content, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included herein without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.