Riding a bike is something that billions of people all over the world enjoy doing. It is an inexpensive and relaxing way to get around. The problem is that it can also be quite dangerous. This isn’t to say that you should avoid riding your bike. It simply means that you have to take some precautions to avoid getting injured and needing an accident attorney.
Lawyers like Lamber Goodnow are always busy with accidents caused by negligent car drivers so you have to understand how to share the road with their aggression to stay safe. In this article, we will go over several tips that you can use to stay safe on your bicycle.
1 – Follow the rules of the road
It is tempting to try to get where you’re going faster by doing things like running red lights and not stopping for stop signs. However, this is a recipe for disaster as you must follow the rules of the road just as if you were a driver.
Although it’s true that other vehicles and pedestrians have to watch out for you, you are just as much a part of the road as they are. This means that if you don’t follow the rules then you are doing something unexpected. This is going to make it difficult for drivers to understand how to react.
Following the road rules means that everybody knows what you will do when confronted with a traffic light or road sign. Any deviation from the rules can result in an accident. After all, cars can’t weave in and out of traffic so if you do then you will likely catch a driver by surprise. If they aren’t expecting you to be in front of them all of a sudden then they aren’t likely to be able to respond quickly enough to avoid you.
2 – Make sure that you’re seen
Being visible is one of the easiest ways to avoid an accident. It involves making sure that you have lights on the front and rear of the bicycle at night. During the daytime, you should wear a bright yellow or orange reflective vest so you are easily seen.
Whether you are on the road, or on a bike path, you need to make sure that everybody can see you. A car making a turn at night will swipe you without even realizing it. A pedestrian crossing the street may step right out in front of you if you don’t have anything they can see.
This also means riding with the flow of traffic. You should stay on the right-hand side and ride the same way that cars are traveling and not head towards them. This is because you are coming at them much faster and leave a driver little time to react if they only see you at the last second.
The key thing to remember is that if you are ignoring any of these traffic rules and there is an accident then you are likely to be found to be at fault.
3 – Don’t get distracted
People often think of car drivers as being distracted by texting and eating while driving which causes accidents. The reality is that it is just as bad for a bicycle rider to be distracted when riding a bike.
You can not only cause an injury to somebody else, but you could also cause your own since you have very little protection on a bike.
Always avoid texting on your phone or even making phone calls when on a bike. You will easily not be able to react to something in the road in front of you if you are not paying attention since you are on your phone.
You should also not be eating or drinking anything while you ride for the same reason. Even getting a drink of water from your bottle can be dangerous. Make sure to put the bottle where it can be easily reached. Think about stopping your bike to take a swig instead of doing it on the go.
4 – Know your route
Riding on the street should be avoided whenever possible. Luckily, many communities are putting in bike lanes so you don’t have to ride in traffic. The problem is that they aren’t everywhere. To take advantage of the bike lanes in your area you have to plan your route out so you can travel on the paths as much of the trip as possible.
Researching your route ahead of time will also help you to avoid other potentially dangerous situations. For instance, if there is any construction happening then you can avoid it because you took a few minutes to look online ahead of time.
5 – Watch for pedestrians
Car drivers have to watch out for bicycle riders, and bicycle riders have to watch out for pedestrians. A bike can cause serious injuries to a pedestrian as well as yourself if you run into somebody.
If you are on a bike lane there can sometimes be pedestrians walking. You do need to look out for them and be mindful that you are traveling much faster than them. When crossing intersections, you should also be aware of people looking to cross the street. Since many people look for cars before crossing they may not even see you.
Always avoid riding on a sidewalk. Even though you may not want to ride on the street, the sidewalk is strictly for pedestrians for safety reasons. A pedestrian walking along may not be expecting a bike and if they suddenly step in front of you there will be no time to react.
Riding a bike is a lot of fun and a great way to stay active. It is something that is as green as it gets as well since it requires no fossil fuels to get around. If you take these precautions then you can get the most out of riding your bike since you are doing it safely.