San Francisco’s Valencia Street has become the go-to spot for shopping, dining and partying. Its surge in popularity has resulted in more cars, pedestrians and cyclists sharing its limited space. Unfortunately, it’s also caused an uptick in accidents. In response, the street introduced newer, “safer” bike lanes earlier this year, but cyclists continue to suffer injuries.
Why the new bike lanes are failing to curb accidents
San Francisco’s new Valencia Street bike lanes are meant to make a safer street for everyone. Unfortunately, cyclists claim that its unconventional design is confusing and causing accidents just weeks after its opening.
Instead of a traditional side-lane design, Valencia Street’s new bike lanes are smack in the center of the busy street, sandwiched by two-way car traffic. Cyclists cruising down these lanes only have a rubber curb and plastic posts to protect them.
Because of their lack of visibility and strength, these barriers have not stopped cars and trucks from driving onto the bike lanes, putting cyclists at risk.
Cyclists are still unsure how effective these new bike lanes are in protecting them due to the high number of crashes that have occurred there.
Who’s liable for a cyclist’s injuries?
Negligent drivers who ignore the safety of pedestrians and cyclists on the Valencia Street bike lanes may face liability if they cause an accident. In California, bike accident victims can hold at-fault drivers responsible for damages and injuries.
Furthermore, the unique design of the bike lane could allow victims to pursue legal action against the city. The city is obligated to maintain its roads for the safety of its citizens. Poor road conditions, such as inadequate signage, lack of maintenance and poorly thought-out design, can contribute to road accidents and make them liable.
Suing the city, however, is as difficult as it sounds. A successful lawsuit could help victims seek monetary compensation, but the process can be plagued with administrative hurdles and paperwork. Going against the government could require the services of an experienced and formidable attorney.