Biking to work is not only good for your health and the environment; recreational bicycling is a fun and healthy activity. Unfortunately, some drivers are not the best at sharing the road with bicyclists, and riding a bike on public roads can quickly become dangerous. In 2018, 857 bicyclists lost their lives to traffic accidents.
Despite these unsettling statistics, there are some strategies you can use to keep yourself safe.
BEFORE YOU RIDE
Bike safety begins before you get on your bike. Every time you ride, you should check your bicycle first. Make sure your seat is adjusted to the proper height and locked in place, check your brakes, make certain all parts are secure and working right, and check that your tires are inflated properly.
Your bike should also have reflectors on the front and back of your pedals and spokes. If you’re going out at night, equip your bike with a bright headlight and taillight. A rear-view mirror and a bell or horn may also come in handy.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
How you dress can also make a difference. Wear bright clothing to help drivers see you and wear reflective clothing when riding at night. Most importantly, always wear a helmet!
Your helmet should fit snug and fall 1-2 finger-widths above the eyebrow.
For advice on fitting your bike helmet, click here (opens a PDF).
Once you know your bike works and you are dressed to be visible and safe, you should plan your route, so you know exactly where you’re going. If possible, avoid roads with lots of traffic and stay in bike lanes or on bike paths. Nearly 75% of fatal bike accidents occur in urban areas, so the further you are from traffic, the safer you are.
Whenever you are biking, stay alert and focused on the road and the traffic around you. Avoid texting, listening to music, and biking under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. If possible, try to anticipate what others do before they do it. If you see a car with its turn signal on, for example, yield the right of way, even if you’re technically following all the rules of the road. In general, you should always assume cars don’t see you.
Still, you also need to obey street signs, signals, and other road markings. Technically, you have the same rights and responsibilities as a car, so you can get a citation for failing to follow the rules of the road.
Another strategy you can use to bike safely is bike predictably. Drive with the flow of traffic and in the same direction. If you are going to change positions or turn, use a hand signal to let drivers know what you are doing.
If you ride on the sidewalk, make sure sidewalk riding is legal, watch for pedestrians, and be careful in driveways or wherever and whenever the sidewalk ends. Unlike other drivers, bicyclists also need to watch for smaller road hazards, like pebbles, potholes, grates, and other obstacles that can cause you to fall.
CALL US IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG
Despite all your best efforts, a careless driver could still cause a bike accident. If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, call Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC to discuss your legal options.
We are here for you at 918-492-7674 and online – call or click today to get started with a free consultation.