A Primer Bicycle Safety to Avoid Accidents
Many individuals in the United States use their bicycles for commuting to work, for pleasure, for exercise, or riding the school. However, the congested traffic and the impatience of motor sharing the roadway creates a dangerous scenario for even the most experienced bicycle rider.
Even though motorcycles have the right to use the road, cars can quickly because catastrophic problems in heavily congested areas or when traveling in stop and start traffic. Typically, accidents occur when motorists changed lanes, or bicyclists are not paying attention due to some distraction.
Are you or a loved one the victim of a bicycle accident? Were you involved in an accident or traffic rules or bicycle safety was abandoned? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are legal advocates for any victim injured through the negligence of others.
Call our bicycle accident attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Bicycle Riding Is More Popular Than Ever Before
Bicycling is becoming more popular in the United States, whether for commuting, fitness, or enjoyment. Riding a bike became a trend, especially during the pandemic when a bike ride has become a safer and more convenient alternative to public transportation.
Bikes on the road are expected to abide by the same rules applicable to vehicles. Like other vehicles, a person on a bike ride has the same rights and obligations as drivers of other vehicles.
Unlike other vehicles, bicycles don’t come with airbags. For this reason, it's critical for everyone, drivers, pedestrians, and bikers alike, to learn about proper safety measures and rules of the road. Moreover, bicyclists and drivers should make safer choices to help minimize bike-car crashes and reduce injuries on the road.
How to Ride a Bicycle More Safely and Avoid Collision
In contrast to driving vehicles, anyone can ride a bicycle on the road without securing a license or passing a test.
A side note: everyone who is new to cycling may want to take a bicycle safety course in the US by clicking this link: Find & Take a Class - The League of American Bicyclist
Like people driving cars, a person on a bike faces many hazards on the road. Most bicyclists share the road with other cars, and accidents can happen even on a designated bike lane.
Improve Your Riding Skills
Training in riding a bike helps bicyclists gain knowledge about traffic rules. The experience will also allow them to navigate the traffic safely and their familiarity with the rules of the road. Improving the bicycling skills means initially learning how to bike in safer areas, such as the park, a designated lane for bicycles, or unreserved parking lots.
It also helps take bicycle classes in a school’s recreation departments, a local bike store, or a bike advocacy organization. Proper education in bike riding introduces learners to the traffic laws, paying attention to lane markers, and the appropriate way to respond to vehicles.
After gaining confidence in riding, it helps to be creative and try other routes. The experience will add up and will greatly improve riding skills, familiarity with traffic laws, and the rules of the road.
Avoid the Right Cross Crash
This scenario includes a bicyclist in front of a car or a large vehicle who was hit as the vehicle pulled out of a parking lot or a side street. You can avoid the collision by following these simple rules of the road:
- Getting a headlight, preferably a white headlight
- Slowing down
- Moving left to avoid the vehicle
Avoid the Door Prize Crash
The door prize crash happens when bicyclists run right into opening car doors. Bicyclists running into car doors is the second most common type of accident among cyclists.
You can avoid crashing into car doors by being aware of your surroundings. For example, cyclists can ride far enough to the left to avoid crashing into opening car doors.
Watch Out for the Crosswalk Slam
Drivers do not expect bicycles in the crosswalk. The crosswalk slam happens when a vehicle makes a right turn and crashes into a cyclist crossing the street at a crosswalk. Bicyclists can avoid the collision by:
- Getting headlights. Remember to check with your state as there are states that require a white headlight
- Slowing down
- Stay in the bike lane and avoid riding on the sidewalk when possible
Common Bike Riding Problems
The Wrong-way Wreck. This accident happens when bicyclists ride against the traffic and a vehicle coming from a parking lot or driveway makes a right turn into the cyclist. The best way to avoid this crash is to never ride against traffic.
The Red Lights of Death. A bicyclist can get hit when it stops to the right of a vehicle waiting at a red light or a stop sign. These accidents usually happen when a large vehicle stop at a red light and a bike positions itself within the vehicle’s blind spot. At the green signal, the cyclist moves forward while the vehicle turns right and crashes into the bicycle.
Bicyclists are in a better position when they are visible to other motorists. When stopped by a red light signal, it is safer to simply stop behind cars rather than to their right to avoid a possible crash.
The Right Hook. Some motorists may think a bike is moving slowly and passes them. They will then turn right in front of the cyclist, who finds it too late to slam their brakes. much
Avoid sidewalk riding as much as possible. It is always safer to ride to the left and take the whole lane. This way, vehicles find it difficult to pass and cut you off.
The Rear End. This scenario happens when a bike moves a bit to the left, possibly to go around road obstructions, and suddenly gets hit by a vehicle coming from behind.
A bicyclist can avoid a rear-end collision by looking behind before moving left to see other vehicles. Ride a steady straight line in the traffic lane, and avoid changing lanes if parked cars obstruct the road.
Teaching Bike Safety for Kids
Bicycling is a mode of transportation. Encourage your children to share the road with other bicycles and motorized vehicles.
Here are some guidelines for children’s bike safety.
Know the Rules of the Road
Bicycles are considered vehicles in many states, and cyclists have the same rights and obligations as motorists when following the road laws.
Ride on the right side of the road, parallel to other cars. Move at the same speed as the traffic and remember to ride in the same direction as the other vehicles. Always remember not to go in the direction of the traffic.
Let the children know the basics. Know the traffic signals and be cautious when changing lane position. Stop completely at red lights and stop signs and always remember to ride in the right lane.
Signal Your Turns
The law does not exempt cyclists from traffic laws. Other than knowing the stop signs and red lights, it is vital to know the different hand signals and use them to let the motorists know whether you are turning left or right. Here are the correct hand signals cyclists can use to indicate what they are about to do:
- Stopping: When stopping at a stop sign, a stoplight, or yielding to a pedestrian, extend and gesture your left arm downward, palm facing backward, to alert the motorists behind you.
- Right turn: When turning to the right-hand side, straighten your right arm in your direction. However, to signal a right turn with a left hand, raise the left arm, and bend it at the elbow. With this hand position, maintain an open hand with palm facing forward to signal other vehicles that you are turning right.
- Left turn: Cyclists can indicate a left turn by extending the left arm straight to the left side and pointing in the direction you want to go.
It is important to make eye contact with other drivers when changing lanes. Eye contact is a safe approach and serves as a negotiating factor while on the road.
A quick tip for cyclists: Always make the hand signals ahead of the maneuver to alert the other motorists, giving them enough time to respond.
Remember to be predictable and ride in a straight line. Bicyclists have to drive predictably, so drivers will feel what they're doing and respond to prevent crashes.
Check over your shoulder and signal before turning or changing lanes. Drive where you expect to be seen, in the same direction as the traffic.
Bicyclists should limit or even never ride on the sidewalk riding. If a ride on the sidewalk is not avoidable, make sure you err on the side of caution and be aware of your surroundings. Cars backing out of a driveway or turning, do not expect to see moving traffic on a sidewalk.
It's important to remember that just because you can see a motorist doesn't indicate that they can see you. If the driver is not visible to you, you are not also visible to them. While riding, it is best to wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors to increase visibility. During the night, wear reflective tape or markings and flashing lights or anything that reflects light.
Ride on the Road and Avoid Busy Streets When Possible
When people start cycling, they usually use the same route they took in the car. Usually, the most effective route is a different road with smaller and slower car speeds. Cyclists are entitled to the road, and they should be careful. Think about how much time you could spend on this idea.
Ride in the Same Direction as the Traffic
Never ride on the wrong side; instead, ride on the right. Keep in mind to go with the traffic flow in the same direction as other motorists.
Be Watchful of Parked Cars
Every bicyclist should be watchful, not only in busy intersections but also in areas where there are parked cars. It is important to leave plenty of room when riding in areas with parked vehicles to avoid hitting doors that suddenly open or crashing against vehicles that suddenly appear.
Avoid Riding at Night
Riding at night poses more danger than daytime riding because it is more difficult for other vehicles to see. However, if you need to ride at night, remember to wear bright clothes and reflective gear so other drivers can see you better. The purpose of bright clothing and reflective stickers is to signal other vehicles of your presence on the road.
Bike Helmet and Other Protective Gear to Use in a Bike Ride
Wearing bike helmets reduces the risks associated with accidents. Wearing the right bike helmet size can protect bikers from head injuries. Note that permanent brain damage is one of the most serious concerns related to bike accidents.
A victim’s chances of suffering from brain damage are reduced significantly with the proper use of a helmet.
Make certain to take the following steps:
- Start your children with the proper use of helmets at a young age. Even if they are just starting to ride a bike, let them wear a helmet. Teach them why it is important for every bicyclist to wear a bike helmet.
- Make sure the helmet fits well and is the right size for your child. The helmet should fit snugly on the head, about two finger-widths above the brows. Choose a helmet that does not rock from side to side or back and forth.
While wearing a helmet does not necessarily eliminate the risk of an accident, it can at least mitigate the adverse impact of injuries.
Other protective equipment to wear while on a bike ride includes:
- Bright clothing
- Reflective gear
- White front light
- Red rear light
How to Be a Safe Pedestrian
Car and bicycle safety is not only for motorists. Other road users should be cautious while passing through places with heavy pedestrian activity, such as schools, markets, hospitals, or universities. A driver should slow and move away from the curb. Motorists should take extra caution near junctions with traffic lights or people crossings and never turn in front of someone crossing the street.
Always be cautious and vigilant while walking on and near a road. Motorists are often distracted by other cars and may not see people crossing the road until it is too late. Here are different ways to be safe as a pedestrian:
- Wearing reflective clothing to increase visibility
- Cross the road in open places away from automobiles
- Choose a safe route to reach your destination
- Be alert and aware to avoid accidents
Other Resources for Bicycle Safety and Pedestrian Safety
- National Center for Safe Routes to School
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Program- The US Department of Transportation has put together key bicycle and pedestrian safety resources.
- First Aid for Bicyclists- It's always important to know first aid. This website can help educate you on the proper procedures to follow if you see an injured bicyclist.
- Pedestrian and Bicyclists safety-
- Pre-Ride Bike Safety Checklist
- Bicycle Safety- The NHTSA provides a comprehensive list of bike safety topics, from helmets to using bike lanes to how to share the road with drivers.
- Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center- Find facts and figures, search for specific topics and watch free webinars about safe transpiration.
- Pedestrian Safety- This website from the NHTSA has staggering facts and figures. Over 6,200 pedestrians were killed in 2018
- Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Tips
- Highway Safety: Bicycle Safety & Laws
- Traffic Safety Team- Learn about roadway concerns, safety tips for all modes of transportation, and how you can practice smart traffic safety in your community.
- The Smart Route to Bicycle Safety (PDF)
- Which Helmet for Which Activity?- Learn why helmets are so important and which helmet is appropriate for any given activity.
- The League of American Bicyclist
- Learn About Bike Safety
- Bike safety - State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation
- Bicycle Safety Checklist - the ABCs of Bike Safety- go through the ABCs of bicycle safety with this easy-to-read checklist!
Bicycle Safety FAQs
Our personal injury attorneys understand that many families have unanswered questions about how to keep safe while riding a bicycle or dealing with insurance companies when hurt cycling in rural and urban environments. An injury attorney from our law firm is answered some of those questions below.
How Common Are Bike Accidents?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports reveal that 932 bicyclist deaths occurred in 2020 alone.
Bicyclist deaths often occur in urban areas and account for about 2% of motor-vehicle-related deaths in the US. Recent statistics from New York also revealed that 97% of cyclists' deaths were associated with not wearing helmets.
What Are the Three Keys to Bike Safety?
- Operate your bike as a legal vehicle
- Heed the traffic rules
- Ride defensively
What Is the Most Important Safety Tip in Cycling?
Wearing a bike helmet properly is one of the most important safety measures among bicyclists. A recent study shows that crash-related injuries are more common among bicyclists than occupants of other vehicles.
In addition, bicyclist deaths occur most in bicyclists who do not wear a helmet. A study of bicycle helmet efficacy reveals that a bicyclist who wears a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 60 percent.
What Is Bicycle Safety for Kids?
Let a child wear a bike helmet when riding a bicycle. Educate children on how to ride safely in the proper bike lane and stay safe in public. Keep your bikes running properly, and make sure nothing will get caught in their bike chain.
Other hazards to children are the dangers of utility grates and train tracks. In many instances, new bike riders had crashes that involved train tracks. Even experienced cyclists find it challenging to navigate tracks, making it necessary to educate children about the risks of train tracks.
What Can Cities Do to Increase Pedestrian Safety?
- Reducing speed limits and the number of pedestrian lanes can drastically help pedestrians stay safe.
- Pedestrian hybrid beacons can control traffic stops that do not have a high rate of pedestrian traffic.
- Raised crosswalks help to reduce driver speeds.
- Enhancing the visibility of crosswalks with lighting and enhanced markings can help motorists see a pedestrian more clearly, especially when it's dark out.
- Pedestrian refuge islands give pedestrians a safe place to wait or stop in the middle of a busy road before crossing the remaining distance.
- Leading Pedestrian Intervals(LPIs) allow pedestrians to walk for an extra few seconds before cars get a green signal.
Hire a Bicycle Accident Attorney to Resolve a Compensation Case
Are you the victim of a bicycle accident caused by someone else's negligence? Did you lose a loved one in a wrongful death when someone struck them while on their bicycle?
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are legal advocates for bike riders and work on their behalf to ensure their rights are protected when injured or killed through the negligence of others.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Our legal team accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you pay nothing until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.