The Safest Places to Bike in Fresno

Fresno is a gorgeous city ripe for exploring by bike, but there are a few glaring threats for cyclists. In 2019, the California Highway Patrol reported 67 bicycle collisions in Fresno County. Each of these reported accidents resulted in an injury or a death, and the numbers are only growing.

In 2020, the same report (from the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System) found that there were, in total, 112 bicycle collisions. One hundred eleven of these resulted in injuries, and three resulted in fatalities. 

Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains that most bicycle accidents occur as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle. In fact, in 2019, the administration found that 75 percent of fatal bicycle accidents involved a collision with a motor vehicle.  

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of safe places to bike in Fresno. While it’s just as important to be wary of the threats in these locations, you can breathe easier knowing that these spaces are set up just for you.

Is Fresno a Bikeable Town? 

Over the years, Fresno has made significant efforts to become a more bike-friendly city. In 2018, the Fresno County Regional Active Transportation Plan was adopted in order to promote the creation of a network of trails servicing not just cyclists but pedestrians, equestrians, and other active hobbyists and alt-transit users. Today, the county boasts a wide supply of bike lanes, shared-use paths, and bike parking. 

On top of that, the town also offers a wide range of bike trails and parks that can be explored. Everything from scenic trails to bike-friendly roads offers cyclists ample opportunity to explore Fresno’s natural beauty.

Unfortunately, Fresno’s efforts are a long time coming, meaning that they lag far behind much more bike-friendly cities like Portland, OR, and Berkeley, CA. According to the People for Bikes City Ratings website, Fresno has a paltry score of “25”, putting it in the 52nd percentile for all cities measured and making it rank 117 out of 143 cities measured. 

Nevertheless, the city has ambitious plans to not just improve bike-ability but also reduce emissions while promoting healthy lifestyles through the addition of new bikeable streets and trails.

Where Are the Safest Places to Bike in Fresno?

In general, the safest places to bike are along designated bike paths or wider lanes that are clearly separated from vehicle traffic. These paths are typically located in parks or along waterways, where there is less vehicular traffic.

Additionally, there are a select few areas created specifically with bikers’ safety and enjoyment in mind. The very, very safest places to bike are going to be along the city’s designated bike paths. Four of our favorites include: 

  • Fresno-Clovis Rail Trail: This trail runs for approximately 15 miles along a paved path that is completely separated from vehicle traffic. It’s a great option for cyclists of all levels and quite popular among families and recreational cyclists.
  • Woodward Park Loop: This is a 2.5-mile loop around Woodward Park that stays mostly flat while offering dedicated bike lanes. It’s a good option for beginner and intermediate cyclists.
  • Sugar Pine Trail: This 8.5-mile paved trail runs from River Park to Friant. It’s a popular route for both runners and cyclists because it’s mostly flat with just a few small hills.
  • Van Ness Extension Bike Path: This is a 1.6-mile paved bike path that runs along Van Ness Extension. It’s a good option for commuters who want to avoid traffic and stay safe while biking to work.

It’s important to note that even on designated bike paths or lanes, cyclists should always wear a helmet and follow traffic laws to ensure their safety. Additionally, it’s a good idea to plan your route ahead of time so you can check the map for any road closures or construction that may affect your ride.

What Makes One Bike Path Safer Than Another? 

There are several factors that make some of Fresno’s bike paths notably safer than others. Some things to look out for include: 

  • Separation from vehicle traffic: Bike paths that are physically separated from vehicle traffic, either by a barrier or by a significant distance, are generally considered safer. This is because clear demarcation reduces the risk of collisions between bikes and cars.
  • Visibility: Bike paths that are well lit and visible to drivers are generally considered safer. They often help reduce the risk of accidents, particularly at night or in low-light conditions.
  • Maintenance: Bike paths that are well-maintained, with smooth surfaces and clear markings, are generally considered safer because uneven surfaces can easily give way to slips and falls. 
  • Intersection design: Intersections can be a particularly dangerous area for cyclists, so bike paths that have well-designed intersections, with clear signage and markings, are generally considered safer.
  • Traffic volume: Bike paths that have less vehicle traffic are generally considered safer because fewer cars mean a reduced risk of collision. 

Bike paths are designed with safety in mind. What that often means is better separation from vehicle traffic, plus good visibility, proper maintenance, and well-designed intersection crossings. Routes that fulfill these criteria are going to be considered safer than those that do not have these features.

How Can Cyclists Stay Safe on Dangerous Roads? 

If you do find yourself on a less-desirable road while riding your bike, there are a few key ways you can keep yourself safe. 

First, always make sure to wear proper safety gear. The most important piece will be your helmet, and you should always make sure to find one that fits properly. In addition, always ride with lights if you’re hitting the streets after dark, and consider investing in a high-visibility jacket or vest for riding at night. 

From there, the best way to stay safe on the road is to simply ride smart. Make sure to always follow traffic laws by obeying traffic signals and signs. Clearly signal to drivers with proper hand signals when you’re going to turn or stop. 

Make sure to use designated bike lanes or paths when they are provided, and stay aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on drivers in front of and behind you, plus those that could be emerging from parked cars. Never assume that someone will yield to you properly or even see you, especially when riding close to the vehicle.

Never use your phone while riding, and try to avoid other distractions that can affect your safety on the road. Keep in mind that while cycling can be a great hobby, it’s never without its dangers!

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Involved in a Cycling Accident? 

Cycling accidents can happen for a wide range of reasons — including but also extending well beyond vehicle collisions. Everything from inclement weather to equipment failure can lead to injury, as can poor road conditions or road design. 

If you’ve been involved in a cycling accident with another driver, pedestrian, or cyclist, it’s important to know your rights, especially if you’ve wound up with any serious injuries or expensive damages.

Any time you’ve been hurt or involved in an accident, stop immediately and report the incident to Fresno law enforcement. If you have to wait to report the incident, make sure to file a crash report online promptly once you return home. Seek a full medical exam to evaluate your injuries and have a record of them close to the date of the accident. 

When seeking compensation for your injuries, the easiest way to make sure you’re looking for any legal journey ahead is to contact a qualified attorney today. Talk to a Fresno bicycle accident attorney to explore your options for filing a personal injury claim and seeking damages from any at-fault parties. The right lawyer can make sure that you receive any damages you’re owed and protect your rights if you find yourself negotiating with another party. Working with an experienced lawyer is especially important if you want to file a claim against the city, county, state, or federal entity for unsafe trail or roadway conditions.

If you’re looking for compassionate and dedicated bicycle accident attorneys in Fresno, contact Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law today.  Our team is here to help you negotiate a claim and seek a settlement for all damages you have suffered. We are just one call away! To schedule your first appointment, simply call (559) 878-4958 or contact the team online