How often have you been riding your bike to work when out of nowhere a car runs you off the road? How many times have you wound up toppled over on the ground or thrown into a bush as a result of swerving to miss a vehicle?
You're not the only one who has had near misses while bike riding; in fact more people than you may realize have been seriously if not fatally injured by traffic collisions while biking. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year approximately 800 bicyclists are killed and more than 500,000 visit emergency rooms as a result of biking accidents. Due to these staggering statistics, it's extremely important to be aware of your risks and know how to do your part in decreasing these risks.
But how? What can you do to make your bike ride safer?
Tips, Tricks, and Rules for a Safe Ride
For many people, bicycling is a fun leisure activity, but for others, it is their primary mode of exercise or transportation. No matter which type of cyclist you are, you face many dangers when you share the road with cars. All too often, cars cruise very close to cyclists or don't even see them. Unfortunately, in these cases, it doesn't matter if you have the right of way, or are following the traffic rules...if a car hits you, you'll definitely be the one who suffers the consequences. This is why it is imperative that all bikers follow the rules of the road and take extra precautions to stay safe:
- Adjusting speed with traffic. When approaching other vehicles, whether approaching them from the back or side, make sure you decrease your speed. This will decrease the distance you need to stop (just in case) and allow you to make sure you know where the car will be headed, instead of hoping it won't steer into you.
- Making yourself visible. Biker “invisibility” is the leading cause of bicycle accidents. Since bikers aren't a usual road hazard, drivers aren't necessarily looking for them. Unfortunately, this leads to many accidents where the driver claims that the biker “came out of nowhere.” You can solve this problem by making sure you're not riding in someone's blind spot and that you are wearing reflective clothing at all times.
- Observing proper intersection safety rules. When riding your bike through an intersection, even if you have the right of way, it is imperative that you check to make sure all vehicles on the sides are completely stopped and none are attempting to turn on red. Again, drivers are not necessarily looking for bikes, nor do they expect a bike to be riding through an intersection, so they may not stop.
- Riding defensively. Never assume that a car will or can stop for you. Instead, always pause for safety (even if you have the right of way) and make sure you're paying attention to all of the traffic at all times.
- Following ALL the rules. As a biker, you don't have the luxury of picking and choosing what rules to follow and which ones to ignore. Although some cities and towns are lenient about where a biker can ride, you can't constantly change route depending on which one is easier at the time. If you're in the street, don't suddenly go on the sidewalk in order to cross when traffic has a red (not only does this confuse motorists, but if they expect you to be following the rules of the road, they may not see you in the crosswalk).
Help and Support You Need to Get Back on the Saddle
Bike accident injuries can be devastating. Recovery from such injuries can be long and daunting, and treatment can be very expensive. If you've recently been injured in a bike accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We'll help you understand whether you're entitled to damages and compensation, as well as help you through the process of filing your claim. Get the money you need and deserve for your treatment. Call today!
Do you want to protect your friends and family from a pedestrian accident? You can use your social media connections to keep your loved ones safe, and our roads clear, by sharing this page on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. You never know when someone may need a refresher course in bike safety, help him out by providing him the tools he needs to avoid a potentially fatal collision.