Bicycle accidents in the United States have declined over the past few years, but the number of fatalities in bicycle accidents has increased. Many places are making it safer to ride a bicycle on the road with cars. The accidents that do occur are often more serious. Some experts believe that new riders aren’t familiar with safe biking practices, while others believe that drivers are not using caution around bikes. As the weather turns nicer, review bicycle safety tips to stay safe out there.
Bicycle Safety Fundamentals
Cyclists are expected to follow the same rules of the road as other vehicles. You may not be able to control the other vehicles, but you can be more aware of what they are doing. Bicycle riders can also take precautions to keep themselves safe:
- Always wear a helmet
- Wear bright clothing that is visible
- Use reflective tape and patches to make yourself more visible
- Ride with the flow of traffic
- Obey the rules of the road
- Yield to pedestrians and other vehicles
- Pay attention to your surroundings
Riding Techniques to Help You Stay Safe on Your Bicycle
You may not need a license to ride a bicycle, but you should be aware of any laws that pertain to riding. Generally speaking, it is illegal to ride 3 abreast in most places. In many states, you are required to ride in a single file when riding with others. It may also be illegal to ride on the sidewalk. Know that you can be cited for traffic violations on your bike, just as you can in a car.
Ride with confidence. Wobbly riders can make drivers nervous. Pay attention at intersections because most accidents occur there. Make eye contact with other drivers. Try to communicate your intentions to the other drivers through hand signals or other methods. Get through intersections quickly by pedaling strongly.
Don’t swerve in and out of parked cars or traffic. Be predictable with your riding. Keep your hands near the brake levers to have the ability to stop quickly. Don’t pass cyclists on the right, just as you wouldn’t pass a car on the right unless there was another lane. Get a bell or horn for your bike to help make noise to alert others to your presence.
If you do have an accident on your bike, follow the guidelines for reporting an accident as if you were in a car. Contact a bicycle accident lawyer like our friends at Cohen & Cohen to discuss your claim before settling.