Stay Safe on the Road: Essential Bicycle Safety Tips
If you’re a cyclist, you understand the risks that come with riding alongside cars. The roads can be a dangerous place, and accidents can happen at any moment. Recent studies have shown that 93% of bicycle crashes occur in urban areas, and most take place during the day. Read through the following tips, so you know how to be a responsible rider.
Prepare Yourself Before Leaving
- Carry anything you need to bring with you in a backpack or strap it to the back of your bike.
- Check your attire. Tie your shoelaces and tuck them in and avoid wearing baggy pant legs, so they don’t get caught in the bike chain.
- Plan the safest route before you leave to be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane, or on a bike path.
Wear equipment to protect yourself and make yourself more visible to drivers. Never ride without a helmet, bright-colored clothing, reflective gear, and white front light and red rear light. Don’t forget to add reflectors on your bike for when visibility is poor.
It is estimated that 85% of brain injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet. Some cities and counties in Arizona require bicyclists under 18 to wear a helmet so check your local laws before riding.
Don’t use headphones or your phone when riding your bike — you’re four times more likely to be in a crash! Listening to music and looking at your phone causes distraction and reduces your ability to hear and pay attention to traffic, which could cost you your life.
Avoid Sunrise and Sunset
When the sun is low in the sky, at sunrise and sunset, motorists may be blinded and unable to see you as you ride. Consider different routes if you can during this time.
Be Respectful and Smart
Bicyclists and motorists share the same roads, same rules, same rights, and responsibilities. The laws exist to make the road a safe place for everyone. Tragic crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists both follow the road rules and watch out for each other. Use hand signals to ride predictably and show your intentions. Respect all users of the road, and you’ll get respect back as a result.
Never Ride Against Traffic
Drivers cannot see you if you’re not riding with the flow of traffic. Approaching drivers will not expect to see you riding the wrong way and could potentially cause an accident.
Use the Full Lane
You’re allowed to use the full lane if the lane is not wide enough for a car and your bike to share safely. Check behind to ensure it’s safe, signal your intentions, and take the lane by riding about 1/3 to 1/2 way into the lane. If it’s safe, try moving to the right to allow the following vehicle to pass.
Be on the Defensive
Being aware of your surroundings makes you a defensive rider. Always keep your focus and be alert to the road and all traffic around you. Try anticipating what others may do before they do it. The faster you notice a potential conflict, the quicker you may avoid a possible crash. Try to make eye contact with drivers and get their attention. Even with eye contact, you should always be prepared. The person may not see you or realize the speed you are going.
What to Do After a Bike Accident
Suppose you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle accident involving a vehicle. The steps you take after being in a bike accident can be essential to your case. If you’re involved in a bike accident, keep these tips in mind:
- Do not leave the accident scene until you speak with the police.
- Don’t negotiate with the driver. Wait for the police to arrive to document the incident.
- Gather contact information from anyone involved and witnesses nearby.
- Take pictures of the scene, your bike, the vehicle (if possible), and any injuries you sustained.
Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers Will Hold Careless Drivers Responsible
There are damages you may be entitled to if a negligent driver caused the accident. Don’t let yourself or a loved one suffer due to someone else’s negligence. At Zanes Law, we know how to fight and win bike accident cases. Our Arizona bicycle accident attorneys will help obtain the damages that you deserve, and ease the financial burden that an accident can cause.
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