Bicyclists are in serious danger whenever they ride on or close to the
road, especially when they share the road with motorists or ride at night.
Sometimes drivers simply overlook cyclists, other times drivers are careless
and outright dangerous, making riding conditions especially hazardous
for bicycle riders. Although there are many causes of motor vehicle accidents
that are beyond any bicyclist’s control, there are several things
bike riders can do to improve their safety while on or near the road.
If you ride your bicycle on or near roadways, make sure you are doing everything
possible to protect yourself from the dangers of a car crash.
1. Wear Protective Gear
Wearing a helmet is always a good idea, especially if you are riding at
high speeds or near roadways. If you fall or are struck by a vehicle,
you’ll want as much protection between yourself and the road as
possible. Even wearing long sleeves and pants can help protect your skin
from severe road rash and lacerations. However, helmets are the most essential
piece of gear, as they can help protect against severe brain injuries
if you are thrown from your bike or struck by a vehicle.
2. Be Vigilant
Always be aware of your surroundings. This rule is important anytime you
ride a bike, but is especially crucial when you are near main roadways
or other areas where cars, motorcycles, trucks, and other vehicles frequently
speed past. Always know when your turn is coming up, look around to see
what the vehicles around you are doing, and make sure there aren’t
any obstructions ahead of you that might cause you to divert your path
suddenly. If you stay on top of your surroundings, it makes it easier
to identify and avoid any potential dangers.
3. Ride Defensively
Never assume that motorists or other cyclists see you. Always be on the
defensive and err on the side of caution. If you are on the road and passing
a car, even stopped cars, make eye contact with drivers when you can to
be sure they see you. This is also important at stop signs. Don’t
move unless you are positive the other vehicles are aware of your presence.
4. Avoid Riding at Night
Taking your bike out at night or in the hours of the early morning before
the sun is out can be a great way to beat the heat and the crowds, but
it could also put you in danger. In the dark, cyclists are harder to spot
and motorists could easily overlook a bike rider, especially around turns
or areas without street lights. In addition, it is more difficult for
bicyclists to see pedestrians, road hazards, and small animals. If you
must ride in the dark, make sure you wear a reflective vest and invest
in lights for your bicycle (both front and rear), so that others see you coming.
Bicycle accidents can be extremely damaging, sometimes causing broken bones,
head injuries, major contusions, and even death. If you or someone you
love was injured in a bicycle accident by a negligent or careless motorist,
our firm wants to help.
For help after a car accident, contact
our Washington DC personal injury lawyers at Simeone & Miller, LLP for legal guidance.