7 Top Safety Tips to Help Avoid a Bike Crash
Bike Safety Tips
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1,000 bicyclists are killed in traffic crashes each year across the US. Additionally, about 130,000 cyclists sustain serious bicycle-related injuries. While some collisions are a result of negligent motorists, there are precautions that bicycle riders can take to help prevent a bike crash.
Prioritizing these bike safety tips can help you avoid bicycle crashes and sustaining serious injuries.
1. Ensure You are Visible to Others
It’s important to dress to stand out so you don’t blend into the landscaping. Follow these tips to help increase visibility:
- Avoid wearing dark colors, especially at night. Most bicyclist deaths occur between 6 pm and 9 pm.
- Wear bright, fluorescent clothes, helmets, and neon vests with reflectors.
- Use white lights and reflectors on your bike and gear. There are reflective bands that can be used on your ankles and wrists as well.
- Communicate your intentions by using basic hand signals to indicate you are turning, moving within your lane, slowing down, or stopping.
Wear a Helmet
A bicycle does not have protection comparable to a motor vehicle, but a cyclist can take measures to help prevent injuries. According to the US Department of Transportation, only about 18% of all bicycle riders wear helmets. Wearing a bike helmet can help reduce the risk of sustaining head injuries by more than 60%. Bicycle helmets can also reduce the number of cyclists who sustain severe or fatal injuries in a collision by 34%.
2. Follow Traffic Laws
Bicycles are viewed as vehicles. For the most part, motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists share the same rights and responsibilities. Bicyclists need to observe traffic laws and remain vigilant about their surroundings. Local traffic laws will vary based on your city, county, and state. However, a few basic principles include:
- Ride with traffic and not against oncoming traffic
- Stay in the marked bike lanes when possible
- If there is not a designated bike lane, ride as far to the right of the road as possible
- Follow traffic signs and lights
You’ll also want to avoid expressways, highways, and interstate routes. These laws help maintain bicycle safety and order. If you did abide by the traffic laws and were involved in an accident due to a negligent driver, contact our bicycle accident lawyers. An experienced attorney in the field will address any questions you have about the accident and how you can recover compensation.
3. Avoid Distractions
One of the best ways to avoid a bicycle accident is to remain alert and aware of your surroundings. Make sure to maintain situational awareness every time you ride. Distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents and claimed 3,522 lives in 2021. Here are common distractions to avoid and what to look out for while riding.
Avoid Using Your Cell Phone
Instead of glancing at your phone while you are in motion, find a safe resting place where you can stop and use your phone. Otherwise, you could put yourself and others on the road at risk. In addition, make sure to keep both hands on the handlebars at all times. Otherwise, you could lose control of your bicycle.
Avoid Listening to Music
While it’s tempting to listen to music while you ride, it’s best not to. Whether you have a speaker, headphones, or earbuds, listening to music can significantly limit your hearing. Therefore, it likely won’t be able to hear warnings like car horns, bicycle bells, or people calling out.
Look Out for Potential Hazards
Remain aware of potential threats such as road conditions, construction, and car doors. Car doors present a major threat to cyclists. Known as “dooring,” this occurs when a driver or passenger in a parked car opens their door and an oncoming bicycle rider crashes into the car door.
Therefore, it’s best to adjust your speed when approaching parked cars. Also, watch for signs that a door is about to open, like a brake light.
4. Exercise Caution When Turning and Use Hand Signals
Watch out for unexpected right turns. Keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicles around you and use hand signals to communicate your intentions. You’ll have more time to stop safely, which can greatly reduce your likelihood of an accident. Similar to driving a car, adopt the habit of looking over your left shoulder when approaching exit ramps, intersections, and driveways.
5. Maintain a Safe Distance
Make sure to keep your distance from other vehicles. Typically, you want to maintain a distance of at least 3 feet between your bicycle and another vehicle. Keeping a safe distance between yourself and others will help you avoid a collision.
Giving yourself space will allow you to react promptly if someone suddenly stops. Hit-from-behind accidents are common. Consider adding a mirror to your bicycle to ensure you’re aware of the cars behind you, too.
6. Stay in Bike Lanes When Possible
Bike lanes help keep bikers safe and allow them to ride at their preferred speed. While the laws will vary from state to state, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk can be legal in certain states. Riding in bike lanes can potentially reduce injuries and helps improve traffic flow.
Sidewalks are narrow, and there are more physical obstacles, like pedestrians, benches, trash cans, mailboxes, and signage. Avoiding the sidewalk can help you avoid a collision with a pedestrian. If there isn’t a bike lane, you’ll need to ride as close to the right side of the road as possible.
7. Do a Bicycle Safety Check Before You Ride
Understanding how your bike works and how it handles certain situations can help you react promptly during an incident. Practice riding your bike around your neighborhood or on a bike trail. Ensure you become comfortable with your bike controls before riding it in more congested traffic areas. Notably, about 80% of bicyclist deaths occurred in urban areas.
It’s a good idea to perform a quick safety check on a weekly basis and especially before you go on a long-distance ride. Confirm that all of the parts of the bicycle are working properly including the tires, pedals, chain, brakes, and wheels.
Contact Our Bike Crash Attorney
Your safety should always come first and it’s important to utilize these tips for injury prevention. Bicycle injuries can be life-threatening and can worsen without proper medical care. If you have been involved in a bike crash, seek medical attention immediately and consult with a bicycle accident lawyer.
At Alpha Accident Lawyers, we work tirelessly to help injured victims recover compensation for their injuries and losses. We maintain a 99% success rate and have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients. Our personal injury law firm makes it easy for clients to receive the medical treatment and legal advocacy they need following an accident. Call us today for a no-risk, free case evaluation.START YOUR FREE CONSULTATION