As a lot of you are probably new to the club (and maybe new to the sport), we thought it would be a good idea to do a post on safe road riding. The good folks at Estey & Bomberger LLC (a law firm specializing in bicycle accidents) were kind enough to write up a post on proper bicycle safety. Some of it is pretty basic, but there is good stuff in there for everyone, so read up!
Not only is bicycle riding a wonderful way to exercise, it is also great for the environment. If you choose to ride your bike to work, you can also save money on gas and other expenses associated with driving. Using a bicycle for your main form of transportation has many positives associated with it, but it can also be dangerous if you do not use safety precautions. Just as there are ways to stay safer in a car, like air bags, and using a seat belt, there are many ways you can help keep yourself safe on your bicycle.
· One of the most important safety tips for riding a bicycle is to be sure that the bicycle is properly adjusted for you. Your owner’s manual will have specific directions for you, but you should be able to stand over the top tube of the bike.
· Check your bicycle before you ride it; every time. You should always make sure that your bicycle is in top condition before you ride. Check the air level in the tires, make sure the brakes are working properly, and make sure that everything is tightly together, with no loose screws or wobbly parts.
· Wear proper safety gear. A helmet should be worn at all times while riding a bike to help protect your head in case of a crash, but the type of clothing you wear is also important, in order to help prevent accidents. In the day time, you should always wear bright clothing, and if you choose to ride at night, reflective clothing or gear is a must, along with a headlight. The best way to prevent a collision is to be as visible as possible.
· Make sure you are aware of any construction or other obstacles that may be on your route. If possible, do not travel through construction areas at all.
· Always be aware of vehicles, whether they are parked or traveling in the same direction as you. You must be aware of the cars around you because it is likely they are not aware of you. Pay attention to parked cars, and look out for doors opening, or pedestrians in the area.
· Always travel in the direction of traffic on the right side of the road, and in the bicycle lane if there is one.
· Obey all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and red lights. Most accidents between bicyclists and cars occur at intersections because the bicyclist was not seen.
Know the Law
· A bicycle is considered a vehicle, and as such, is subject to the same rights and restrictions on the road as any other vehicle, when applicable. This does include no riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs.· There are special provisions for riding a bicycle at night, which include having a headlight, a red rear reflector, white or yellow reflectors on the pedals, and there are laws providing for the visibility of said lights and reflectors.
Riding a bicycle for a commute or just for fun and exercise is a wonderful choice for the environment and for your overall health. It is important that you keep your bicycle in good working condition, and ride safely. Be aware of your surroundings and use precaution at intersections. Although wearing a helmet won’t prevent a collision or an accident, it will do a lot to protect your head and brain should such an accident occur. Broken bones heal, but some brain injuries are permanent, or even deadly. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident contact an accident lawyer to help you gain compensation for your injuries. And remember when riding use your best judgment and ride safe.