Cyclists rely on their bikes for commuting, leisure, and exercise. Millions of adults and children alike get on two wheels every day, and plenty of them wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road. But not everyone protects their head like they should, and not everyone is careful about their biking practices. These facts, compounded with the reality that bicyclists are sharing the road with distracted Michigan drivers, means that bike and auto accidents are a common occurrence. In fact, the greatest number of bicycle accidents occur when cyclists are struck by cars.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than the people driving or riding in motor vehicles. Here are just some of the statistics they’ve compiled:
Some very simple precautions can help lessen the number of bicycle injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident.
Even though there is no law in Michigan requiring bicycle riders to wear a helmet, the risk of head and brain injuries is reduced when bike riders – children and adults alike – wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they get on their bicycle.
Likewise, Michigan does not have a law in place barring bicyclists from using a cellphone while operating a bicycle. Common sense should prevail in this situation but it often does not, and can easily lead to a collision with a car or fellow cyclist, or an accident because of carelessness and distraction.
Choosing to ride your bicycle during daylight hours is more likely to reduce your risk of being involved in a crash with a motor vehicle, as well as being wise about the locations in which you choose to ride. Roads with clearly demarcated bike lines may be more easily traveled than suburban roads. No matter where you choose to ride, safety precautions should include increasing rider visibility with active lighting and reflective clothing, particularly at night.
Some cyclists use poor judgment in getting on their bicycle after drinking, which can just as easily lead to an accident as a drunk driver getting behind the wheel.
The experience level of the cyclist can impact whether or not an accident occurs. Longtime bicycle riders will be far more familiar with the rules of the road as they apply to cyclists and be better equipped to share the road with motorists.
Poor road maintenance – such as potholes and a lack of bike lanes – can contribute to dangerous conditions for Michigan bicyclists.
Michigan cyclists are expected to use caution and exercise safe cycling practices in order to safeguard themselves on Michigan highways. Each of the following provisions is far more detailed, but the basics of cyclist law-abiding safety are as follows: