We get excited each Spring as we uncover our bicycles and ready ourselves for some summer riding and fun. Bike safety and preventing bicycle accidents probably isn’t even close to the first thing you or your kids are thinking about as they jump on their bikes and cruise down the road or sidewalk
Taking necessary precautions to keep yourself and your family safe is a big deal, and making small changes to your bicycle routine could end up saving the lives of the people you love. Ready to learn more about how you can help make sure that everyone keeps riding happy and safe this summer? Let’s do it!
Tips for Preventing Bicycle Accidents
- Wear a helmet that is properly fitted – Preventing bicycle accidents, in general, is the goal, but preventing an accident from becoming serious by wearing a helmet is one of your first lines of defense. So many people, including kids, fall and hit their heads while riding a bike or scooter. A helmet can protect everyone from serious brain injuries. Wearing just any helmet isn’t good enough, though. You need to make sure that it fits right and that the side straps are snug so that the helmet does not move too much if you were to have a fall. Wearing a helmet is an easy rule to make for yourself and your kids. You clip on your helmet and then get on your bike. You don’t do one without the other.
- Dress in high-visibility clothing – This one isn’t just for night-time rides. Wearing bright colors when you bike helps drivers and other bicyclists see you easily. Reflective clothing enhances the ability for everyone to see you during the dusk and late-night hours too. If you’re going to be riding a bike, invest in some bright, reflective clothing now. It’s just part of your safety equipment while riding.
- Wear eye protection – Protecting your eyes from sun damage is always a good idea, but wearing sunglasses can also help take the glare and inability to see in the bright daylight away. Helping you see other people, potholes, tree roots, rocks, as well as keep those pesky bugs out of your eyes. You’ll thank us later for this one!
- Avoid riding during high traffic times – If possible, plan your bike ride during times when there will be less traffic and congestion so that you can minimize your risk of encountering too many vehicles. These high traffic times can be especially dangerous as people don’t always have bicyclist safety at the forefront of their minds.
- Plan a safe bike route – You know the bike routes that are the safest around your home or the area that you plan to go. Do what you can to anticipate hazardous areas and be extra cautious about checking your blind spots, leaving room between you and parked cars, and making sure that drivers see you before you make turns or change lanes. If some routes are just too risky, avoid them altogether. It’s just not worth it.
- Always stay aware of your surroundings – Always staying alert and aware of your surroundings is vital as you bike ride. It can be so tempting to put on your AirPods or headphones and listen to your favorite music as you cruise down the road or head up your favorite trail. While this can be fun, it can also be dangerous. You can put yourself in an extremely dangerous situation if you are not able to hear your surroundings – approaching cars, sirens, people trying to communicate with you, and more. Avoiding distractions of all kinds is vital to your safety. These distractions include talking on the phone, talking with other riders, and drinking or eating.
- Anticipate hazards – When you’re paying attention to the road and what’s happening around you, you can anticipate hazards and act accordingly much better and faster. Riding defensively may just save your life!
- Follow traffic rules – If you want to bike on the road, you better be ready to follow all traffic rules. This means signaling when you change lanes or make a turn, following the speed limit, and obeying traffic signals and signs.
- Keep your bicycle well maintained – Regularly maintain and inspect your bike, especially after a long winter. Make sure it’s in working order – tires have enough air in them, brakes work correctly, and the chain and other parts are lubricated and turning as needed. When your bike is well-maintained, you avoid potential hazards that could quickly put you in danger.
Tips for Drivers
Not all bicycle accidents occur with vehicles, but many do, and they are often because drivers simply don’t share the road. According to the US Department of Transportation, 966 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2021. This doesn’t count bicyclists that are killed from falls or other reasons.
There are things that drivers can do to avoid these accidents. A few important steps are giving cyclists ample room when you pass them, yielding to bicyclists just like you would another car, and just keeping an eye out for them.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident?
The tips listed above are a great start to preventing bicycle accidents but there are many other things you can do as well. Be smart about where and when you allow your kids and yourself to ride. Take the time to teach them about safe riding so they can keep enjoying the outdoors while being physically active.
If you or a family member does get hurt in an accident, Wormington & Bollinger can help you navigate the journey of a personal injury case. Preventing bicycle accidents takes effort, and if you have done all you can and still find yourself injured, it can be frustrating. You need to seek compensation for damages for yourself and for your fellow bicyclists. Contact our team to learn how we can help your injury case.