Bicyclists ride for sport, leisure, exercise, or simply to get wherever they need to go. Unfortunately, many motorists bristle at having to share the road with bicyclists, which can lead to serious safety issues, and far too many auto accidents involving bicyclists.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states, “Bicycles on the roadway are, by law, vehicles with the same rights, and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.” But tolerance for a two-wheel vehicle (and this goes for motorcycles as well) is not always very high.
Bicyclists should feel safe on the roads, but you can’t make other people act appropriately. What cyclists can do to avoid a bicycle-car collision, injuries, or a fatality, is to take the proper safety precautions at all times.
- Be noticeable. Drivers of motor vehicles often don’t see bicyclists because they aren’t as noticeable as other vehicles on the road, so don’t be invisible. Wear brightly colored clothing. Make sure there are yellow or white reflectors on the front of your bike, red or white reflectors on the rear, and that white lights are visible on the front and back of your bike, particularly if you often ride at night.
- Wear a helmet. Any bicycle rider under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet, but don’t give it up once you reach adulthood. Do everything you can to enhance your own safety and strap on that helmet each and every time you get on your bicycle. There were 618 pedalcyclists killed in 2010 and an additional 52,000 injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes (NHTSA). The majority of these injuries are head injuries.
- Follow the law. Use designated bike lanes – they’re there for your safety and convenience. Travel in the direction of traffic and not against it. Obey traffic signals and signs. Do not wear earphones or headphones while riding your bicycle. You need to be able to hear what’s going on around and use all of your senses to maintain awareness of vehicles on the roads.
Many people tend to automatically blame cyclists for causing an auto accident. Any bike rider has as much right to be on the road as a motor vehicle. If you were abiding by all bicycle laws and were still involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, you may have a personal injury claim. To discuss your case with a personal injury attorney, contact David C. Femminineo for your consultation.