By Pendergast Law on September 23, 2010
Every year an average of more than 700 bicyclists are killed and over 500,000 injured in the United States.
There are millions of cyclists on the roads – the same roads occupied by millions of motor vehicles that are larger, heavier and faster than bikes. So, while bicycling is one of the most popular ways to get around, whether for recreation, sport or transportation, defensive driving applies to people who pedal with their feet to travel, as well as to those who push the gas pedal.
Taking proper precautions in traffic and wearing protective equipment are a cyclist’s best defense against being injured in an accident. Here are some safe bicycling tips from the National Safety Council:
1. Obey all traffic rules. Cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
2. Know your bike’s capabilities. Remember that bicycles differ from motor vehicles. While they are smaller and can’t move as fast as cars, they can change direction more easily, stop faster and move through smaller spaces.
3. Ride in single file with traffic, not against it. Bicycling two abreast can be dangerous. Bicyclists should stay as far right on the pavement as possible, watch for opening car doors, sewer gratings, soft shoulders, broken glass and other debris. Remember to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
4. Make safe turns and cross intersections with care. Signal your turns a half a block before the intersection, using the correct hand signals – left arm straight out for a left turn; forearm up for a right turn. When traffic is heavy and you want to turn left, it is best to dismount and walk the bicycle across both streets at the crosswalks.
5. Always be seen. During the day, cyclists should wear bright clothing. If you must ride at night, wear retro reflective clothing designed to bounce back motorist’s headlight beams.
6. Make sure your bicycle has the right safety equipment. Your bike should have a red rear reflector, a white front reflector, a red or colorless spoke reflector on the rear wheel, pedal reflectors, a horn or bell and a rear view mirror. A bright headline is recommended for night riding.
7. Always wear a helmet. Head injuries are the cause of nearly two-thirds of all bicycling fatalities. And be sure to buy a helmet that carries the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission label stating that it meets the uniform, mandatory federal safety standards for bike helmets.
Be a safe bicyclists and if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycling accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and get compensation for your injuries. If you think you have a claim contact our Seattle personal injury attorneys for a free consultation. You obtain the best possible legal services at the time of your injury without having to pay money out of your pocket for legal services. No recovery means no attorney fee.