Biking Lanes - Safe, Or Not?


Jun 28, 2015
Where I live, all of the main busy streets have a biking lane. The laws about biking on sidewalks have been well enforced around where I am, with a few people I know actually having been stopped by the police for riding their bikes there.

Bikers here were really happy at first when bike lanes were introduced. But over time they've been being used less and less, and mostly because they are quite simple not safe. The drivers here completely ignore the separate lanes intended for bikes and drive through them. Some lanes are shared between bikes and cars, but even if it is specifically labelled a bike-only lane people still pay no mind and drive right through them.
I live right along the busiest street in the city. There are bike lanes alone it, but people ignoring the lanes make it nearly impossible to actually drive in them, so I'm really forced to stick to the sidewalk until I get to a less busy area.

I'm not sure how common biking lanes are since I've never heard of any place outside of Canada having them. But if you are in an area with them, how safe are they there? And if you don't live in an area with bike lanes, would you want to have them?
I am lucky bike lanes are taken seriously where I live. Also as unsafe as they are, they are still a lot safer than riding on a road that does not have them.
I think it was when I was in Montreal (Could have been Hamilton, please correct me if you know I am wrong) there were bike lanes that were seperated with a curb! I always thought that was an amazing idea then cars can not get all in your lane.
BikeBikeBikeBike, I love that idea of having the bike lanes separated by a curb! I'm sure there would be a lot of drivers who would disagree with that though, and complain that it makes the driving lanes too narrow. It would make them a lot safer though, and considering most of the lanes where we have them where I live are intended to be completely separate unless needed anyway, it would be an appreciated addition. Very lucky, however, that you live in a place where the lanes are taken seriously, and you make a good point that either way they are safer than riding in roads without them.

The most annoying thing to me, and what motivated me to make this thread in the first place, is even if I'm clearly waiting for a chance to get into the bike lanes, the drivers here still completely ignore it. If I get into the lane in a less busy time then people obviously back off, but it is a constant worry for me when I ride, and makes it quite difficult to start off. Very intimidating and I'm sure is why a lot of people here don't bother with bike riding.
There are some gnarly bike lanes in my area. i'm talking ones with huge pot holes and broken pavement that I'd hesitate riding a bike through. That makes them pretty unsafe in my book. On the other hand, in the areas with good bike lanes, cars generally respect them. They usually give a wide berth around them, and I think they view cyclists a lot more favorably in places that there are bike lanes than when they're taking the lane somewhere that there's not so it's possible bike lanes are safe.
There are no bike lanes where I stay. However, I don't think that safety levels for cyclists would improve if they were introduced. In all likelihood, most other road users would just ignore these, and remain a threat to cyclists regardless. Nevertheless, I still would like to see bicycle lanes introduced eventually.
There's bike lanes practically all over the UK but I'm not sure if it a made cycling safer or not to be honest.

You'd think it will have done, but then again when your actually out on the roads and riding in them you don't particularly feel much safer.
As I had posted in another thread, there is a group of cyclists here lobbying for a bike lane in all main roads of Metro Manila. I also believe that the bike lane will protect the bikers and lessen accidents that are becoming common lately not to mention the damage to vehicles inflicted by the bikers. But the government is reasoning the cost of adding a bike lane because the land (to widen the road) has to be purchased. In other words, it would need a lot of funding.
Cost is obviously the biggest issue for the government when they're considering any scheme, and especially one that will only be used by a select part of the population.

They have to justify spending all that money on road widening (if needed) and then on the actual cycle lanes themselves and I think the non-cyclists might take an exception to the fact money isnt being spent on them instead.
Where I live they don't have bike lanes everywhere but in the places they do, they aren't next to the car lane. There normally is certain amount of distance between the two. On the other hand there are a lot of pedestrians that use them, so it can be a bit unsafe if the don't move out of the way.