One of the great parts about living in Southern California is the ability to take advantage of the warm weather we have year round. For many, that means riding their bicycle for exercise and for pleasure. However, when you do ride your bike, safety needs to be at the top of your list. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are very common and can be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 726 bicyclists were killed and 49,000 were seriously injured in 2012 in the US.
While you can’t control what drivers will do, it’s important to do everything you can to keep yourself safe while you are riding your bike. Following these tips will help you avoid getting into an accident.
Avoid the Sidewalk
It’s important to ride your bike on the street and not on the sidewalk. Although riding on the sidewalk may seem safer because you are further away the traffic, it can actually be much more dangerous than riding on the road. If you are riding on a sidewalk and a car sticks the nose of the car out of a driveway over the sidewalk, they will obstruct your path on the sidewalk. Additionally, if someone is pulling into a driveway that you are crossing on a bike, they might not see you since you are not on the road. Lastly, riding on the sidewalk can potentially injure pedestrians who are walking there.
Use a Headlight and Wear Bright Clothing
Whenever you are riding a bike, you want to be as visible as possible. Wearing bright, reflective clothing can help with this. Instead of wearing dark colors, which can blend in with the background, wearing a bright colored shirt with reflective material on it will help you stand out from anything behind you. Additionally, using a headlight, even when riding during the day, can help you be seen easier by drivers. Fortunately, there are many different lights that can be mounted to the front and rear of a bicycle to help make it more visible to drivers.
Ride on the Right Side of the Street
When you do ride on the street, be sure to ride on the right side of the street going in the same direction as traffic. Riding against the flow of traffic greatly increases your risk of accident. Since you are driving towards oncoming traffic, it gives a driver less time to react should he or she drift into the bike lane. Additionally, this also increases the risk of being hit when going across a driveway or street crossing. If a car is waiting to turn left into a driveway, and you are riding on the wrong side of the street, you are approaching the driver from behind. There isn’t any way the driver will be able to see you and increases the chances of the driver pulling in front of you or hitting you as you cross the driveway.
As you enjoy your time riding your bicycle, be sure you are following all traffic laws. Additionally, be sure to bike defensively. Don’t ever assume that a car sees you. Doing your part to stay as safe as possible will help you avoid getting into an accident.
We have helped hundreds of people who have been in bicycle accidents recover the money they deserve for the injuries they sustained. If you would like to learn more, please contact us at 800-676-5295.