Tips for Avoiding Bicycle Accidents
Bicycling has grown in popularity and is a great way to stay active, save gas money, avoid traffic and enjoy the outdoors. However, cyclists must protect themselves from distracted drivers, other cyclists and pedestrians while on the road. Here are a few tips for staying safe and avoiding a bicycle accident.
1. Announce your presence to pedestrians and other cyclists with a bell and shout out your intended direction to avoid confusion and a potential collision.
2. Watch for car doors, which can slam open right into your path. Ride defensively and leave enough room between yourself and any stationary car to avoid a suddenly opened door.
3. Don’t ride on the sidewalk. In many cities, it is against the law to ride your bike on a city sidewalk. Drivers and pedestrians won’t be expecting bicyclists on sidewalks… and won’t be responsible if they open their door into you or collide with you while you are riding there.
4. Ride with the flow of traffic to avoid head-on collisions.
5. Check your surroundings often, including your “blind spot,” so you can make informed decisions quickly. Install rearview mirrors on your handlebars or helmet. Never move left without checking behind you first.
6. Don’t stop in drivers’ blind spots. Assume they can’t see you.
7. Don’t pass vehicles on the right in an intersection. It’s safer to stay behind a car through an intersection, even if it means taking up the whole lane.
8. Make yourself visible with bright colored clothing, lights and reflectors.
9. Don’t hug the curb. Give yourself some space to allow you to move in case of emergency.
10. Communicate with drivers by using hand signals. Make eye contact with approaching drivers when possible to make sure they see you and to communicate your intentions.
11. Stay alert by leaving your headphones behind. You need all your senses to keep you safe and warn you about potential dangers.
12. Wear your helmet. It can literally be the difference between life and death. Studies show that riders who do not wear a helmet are 14 times more likely to suffer a fatal head injury than those who are protected by a proper-fitting helmet.
13. Know and follow the rules of the road. Check your local Department of Transportation website for laws in your area. Check out this helpful website with state laws compiled by the League of American Bicyclists.
If you or someone you know have been involved in a bicycle accident, call Davis & Gelshenen LLP at 1-866-427-2121 for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced, trusted, and recommended personal injury attorneys. Davis & Gelshenen LLP handles cases throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio, and can meet with you at your home or location convenient to you to discuss your case.