Enjoy a Sunny Ride Safely
We are either experiencing an early spring or a “fake spring” here in Northern California. With the nice weather, more people are heading outside to enjoy a bike ride. Cycling is a great way to add some healthful activity to your day. It also is a nice way to commute while reducing your gasoline expenses and carbon footprint. It is important to prioritize safety on the bicycle, as riding near other types of vehicles presents a certain level of danger. Below are some common types of bike accidents and tips for riding safely.
Preventing Bike Accidents: Scenarios to Watch Out For
- The Opening Door. If you are riding by a line of parked cars, use extra caution. Drivers and passengers do not always look behind them before throwing open their car door. This could put a solid object in your path, or be a direct hit to your and/or your bike, knocking you to the ground.
- The No-Look Turn. This scenario is probably the most common type of bike accident. When a vehicle is pulling out of a parking lot, driveway, or side street, the driver is often only looking in the direction of oncoming traffic. It is rare that they will look the other way before proceeding. Avoiding this type of accident is easy – make sure you are traveling in the direction of traffic, in compliance with the law. If you get into an accident while you are riding your bike against traffic, it is very likely that you will found to be at fault. Even if you are traveling in the right direction, cars pulling out from a side area can be dangerous. Have a headlight on your bike to increase visibility and make eye contact or wave at the driver to ensure that you are seen before continuing in front of the stopped vehicle.
- The Crosswalk Accident. This is one reason to avoid riding on the sidewalk. Drivers are usually on the lookout for pedestrians when they are stopped and intending to make a right-hand turn. They may not be expecting a bicycle to sail into their path. If you stay in the bike lane, or on the right side of the road, and use extra caution approaching an intersection, this will increase the likelihood that you are seen by the turning driver.
Watch the YouTube video below that includes a comprehensive look at car door vs. bicycle accidents.
General Bicycle Safety Tips
- Take the Road Less Traveled. No matter how cautious we are, there is always going to be an element of danger when bicycling near traffic. Look for alternate routes to your destination that use residential roads or cut through parks, for example. As much as you can, avoid busy streets and intersections.
- Ditch the Distractions. As enjoyable as it can be to ride around listening to your favorite music, save the headphones for when you reach your destination. Distracted riding (and driving) is the cause of many accidents.
- Let Your Intentions be Known. Always signal your turns. Do not expect drivers to know your intended path of travel.
- Act as Though You are Invisible. Increase your visibility by installing lights on your bike and wearing reflective clothing. At the same time, continue to assume that you cannot be seen. This is perhaps the ultimate key to preventing bike accidents. Ensure that you are seen by a driver before you cross its path. Donning this cloak of invisibility may mean your commute is a little slower, and you may have to make more frequent stops, but it may ultimately help you reach your destination safely.
Rocklin Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Hello. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a bicycle accident lawyer in Rocklin, California. Bicycle accidents can cause devastating injuries. If you have been injured due to the actions of a careless or negligent driver, call to receive free and friendly advice from one of our experienced injury lawyers. You may reach us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400, or via our online form.
Photo Attribution: MMB
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