Preventing Bicycle Accidents: Safety Tips for Cyclists

Preventing Bicycle Accidents: Safety Tips for Cyclists

Apr 05

With environmentalists pushing for stronger conservation efforts in the wake of global warming, plenty of Americans have begun opting to ride bicycles instead of driving their cars. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of people riding their bikes to work increased from 488,000 to around 786,000 for 2000 to 2012, suggesting a notable 61 percent increase.

Now that a significant portion of the population is taking their bikes on the road, it should also be noted that the number of accidents involving cyclists have similarly increased. There is always some risk to being out on the road with other vehicles. However, the risk for cyclists increase for crashes involving vehicles that are much larger than the flimsy frames of bikes. The NHTSA notes that bicycle accidents account for 2 percent of all 33,561 traffic fatalities that occurred in 2012. This data only proves how important bicycle safety is. Thankfully, cyclists can protect themselves from unwanted accidents and injuries by following safety precautions.

One of the most important precautions cyclists should take is making sure they are perfectly visible to the vehicles around them. This is especially crucial when larger vehicles are sharing the same roadway because of the danger of blind spots. As a cyclist, you should always use hand signals and look over their shoulder when changing lanes or making a turn. Wearing bright and reflective clothing is equally important, as well as equipping your bicycle with lights and reflectors.

Another important tip is to make sure you’re riding with the flow of the traffic and not in the opposite direction. Again, it’s important to keep yourself visible to the vehicles sharing the round. Drivers will not expect someone else riding towards them and won’t be able to predict your intention to turn or change lanes. Similarly, you should always be ready to stop at driveways and intersections. Your bicycle might be small, but it’s extremely dangerous to try to run a stop.

Cyclists should also be wary of the roadway they’re riding. Always be on the lookout for cracks in the pavement, potholes, grates, and puddles that could cause you to lose control of your bike. It’s also important to stick to the paths and trails designated for bicycles.

Finally, it’s very crucial that you’re wearing proper safety gear and equipment. A properly fitted helmet can do a lot to save you from traumatic brain injuries. It’s also important to point out that you should avoid cycling while you’re distracted or impaired by alcohol. The NHTSA notes that 24 percent of cyclists involved in fatal accidents had a Blood Alcohol Concentration level of 0.08 percent or higher.

Still, the responsibility for preventing bicycle accidents does not rest solely on cyclists. Drivers sharing the road also have an equal share in ensuring everyone is kept safe from accidents that could lead to severe injuries. If you are a victim of a similar scenario, you will know firsthand how devastating a bicycle accident can be. Seeking compensation through legal channels can be your best recourse. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area to learn more. Residents of Florida can consult with West Palm Beach car accident attorneys.

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