Bicycle Safety

July 23, 2020

Bicycling, or cycling, or simply biking, is an increasingly popular leisure activity, as well as an inexpensive and convenient mode of transportation. According to Statista, around 12.4 percent of Americans cycled on a regular basis in 2016. The number of bikers in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past three years from 43 million in 2014 to 47.5 million in 2017. While the number of cyclists in the U.S. between six and 17 years old has decreased over the past ten years, the trend among young adults; i.e., people aged between 18 and 24 years old, is somewhat different. The number of young adults who participated in bicycling has remained relatively stable at around four million. 

The relatively recent success of American riders in the Tour de France, a 23-day race covering 2,200 miles around France that has been run for over 100 years, has helped boost the popularity of the sport in the U.S. Still, as can be seen on the Tour, even the best bike riders are sometimes involved in accidents, often leading to serious injuries, and often caused by unwitting car drivers who are simply not looking out for cyclists. If you have been injured in such an accident, Bethlehem personal injury lawyers can help.

How to Cycle Safely

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 857 cyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2018. These deaths are particularly tragic because most often, it’s the vehicle driver at fault, yet it’s the bicycle rider who is injured or killed.

Safety Steps for Cyclists

Fortunately, cyclists can increase their odds of avoiding an accident by following some simple steps, including:

  • Wearing a helmet. Be sure to choose a helmet that fits correctly, and adjust it so that it fits snugly yet comfortably.
  • Riding sober. Alcohol was involved in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.
  • Riding a bike that fits you. Bikes that are too big are harder to control.
  • Maintaining your brakes. If you can’t stop, you will crash.
  • Wearing equipment to protect you and make you more visible to others: bright clothing, reflective gear, and a white front light and red rear light, along with reflectors, on your bike.
  • Keeping both hands on the handlebars unless signaling a turn.
  • Using a backpack or carry items strapped to the back of the bike.
  • Tying and tucking your shoelaces and pant legs, if necessary, so they don’t get caught in your bike chain.
  • Planning your route. Choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Use bike lanes or bike paths if available.
  • Driving with the flow of traffic and in the same direction.
  • Obeying all of the rules of the road, just as if you are driving a car.
  • Driving defensively. Assume the other person doesn’t see you.
  • Constantly scanning the road ahead for hazards that may cause you to fall, like stones, potholes, grates, and train tracks.
  • Avoiding anything that distracts you by taking your eyes, ears, and mind off the road and traffic. Do not text or listen to music.

Safety Steps for Motorists

Even cyclists who do everything right can be injured by motorists who are driving carelessly. Motorists have a responsibility to look out for the cyclists who share the road with them. There are safety steps that all motorists can follow, including the following:

  • Yielding to cyclists as you would other motorists. This helps to avoid turning in front of a cyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
  • Searching your surroundings for bicycles at stop or yield signs and when parking.
  • Drivers turning right on red should look out for cyclists to the right and behind. Stop completely and look behind as well as left-right-left before turning right on red.
  • Obeying the speed limit, reducing speed for road conditions, and driving defensively. Think of cyclists as other motorists who are simply harder to see.
  • Giving cyclists plenty of room. Do not pass cyclists too closely. Pass them as you would any other vehicle; i.e., when it’s safe to move over into another lane.
  • Most importantly: being aware. Cyclists are very common on the roadways and becoming more frequent all the time.

Contact Bethlehem Personal Injury Lawyers at Drake, Hileman & Davis

Cycling is very popular and becoming more popular all of the time. The traffic laws regarding cycling can be complicated, and your insurance company is not on your side. Their only goal is to settle your claim as cheaply as possible.

This is why anyone involved in a cycling accident needs the help of the Bethlehem personal injury lawyers at Drake, Hileman & Davis. Our attorneys understand the complexity of the various issues, both legally and insurance-wise, and can help you examine your various options and assist you in filing any insurance or legal claims. If you need our help contact us online.