Commuting to work on a bicycle is becoming exceedingly popular, as it is associated with health, financial, and environmental benefits. In fact, the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau has reported that the number of Americans commuting by bike increased by more than 160 percent from 2000 to 2012.
Bike riders have a disadvantage in terms of safety on the road, however. When a crash occurs between a bicycle and a motor vehicle, it is the cyclist who is likely to be injured or killed. What can bicyclists do to stay safe among the vehicles around them? Below are seven tips for riders to help avoid bicycle accidents.
1. Follow the same rules of the road that motorists follow.
One of the top mistakes bicyclists make is riding through stop signs and red lights without stopping, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). People on bikes should always be ready to stop quickly and obey traffic laws.
2. Be predictable.
Ride in straight, predictable lines. Check for nearby vehicles and use hand signals before turning to avoid coming into the path of a motorist.
3. Look left, right, and left again before entering a road.
Drivers have the right of way and expect all entering traffic to yield, according to the NHTSA.
4. Ride in the direction of traffic.
Bicycle crashes with oncoming traffic are often deadly and typically occur at driveways, intersections, and when motorists turn right.
5. Never ride under the influence.
Alcohol and drugs affect a bicyclist’s balance, coordination, focus and ability to react, which are all factors in safe bike riding.
6. Avoid mobile devices.
Never ride while wearing headphones, and avoid using a smart phone or other mobile device while riding.
7. Protect your head.
Always wear a helmet.
It's also important to remember that injuries don’t just occur when colliding with a motor vehicle. A fall from a bike can cause serious injury and rarely death. Look ahead for hazards like potholes, items in the road, and broken glass.
Even the safest rider can be involved in a fatal bicycle accident with a motor vehicle. When a traffic crash results in death or catastrophic injuries, those who acted negligently must be held accountable for their actions. We can help.
Contact our firm if you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident. Our attorneys have been protecting victims’ rights for decades, and we are prepared to assist you.