As more and more bicyclists hit the roads for economical, environmentally friendly (and even healthy) transportation, it's important everyone understand bike safety to reduce their risk of serious injury.
About Bicycle Accidents Involving Vehicles
As you might imagine, in the case of an accident between a bicycle and a motor vehicle, the rider of the bicycle is more likely to be injured or killed than either the driver or the passengers in the significantly heavier and more protected vehicle. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 800 bicyclists were killed and about 515,000 people went to the emergency room due to bicycle-related injuries. The lifetime medical costs associated with these injuries, including medical costs and productivity was about $5 billion.
While they can't completely prevent bicycle accidents by themselves, there are a few things riders can do to reduce their likelihood of being in one.
- Wear fluorescent clothing when you're riding so you can be seen from further away, even during the daytime — if you need to wear regular clothing, special safety vests can be purchased that you can remove when you arrive at your destination
- At night, add retro-reflective clothing
- Rig your bike with active lighting (front white lights, rear red lights or other lighting) to increase the likelihood a driver will see you — you can run these during the day, but it's imperative at night (you should be turning your lights on at the same time drivers are required to turn on headlights or running lights)
- Wear helmets and other protective gear (especially children)
- Always use bike lanes where available (you can find information on these at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center website or on your local government website)
- Use proper hand signals while turning
- Limit distractions (texting, talking on the phone, music)
- Follow all traffic laws just as though you were driving a vehicle
- Ride in the same direction as traffic
Tips for Drivers to Avoid Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists alone can't prevent all bicycle accidents. Drivers have to do their part too.
- Watch carefully as you cross through intersections — you should be doing this anyway, as you should also be looking for other drivers who failed to yield
- Allow at least three feet on the right side of the road for bikes to travel (this is the law)
- Watch for cyclists before making turns
- Check for bike riders before you open your car doors or pull out of a parking space
- Give bicyclists the right of way at intersections (this is the law)
Injured in a Bicycle Accident?
If you or a loved one have been involved in a bicycle accident, call the Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at Draper Law Offices at 866.767.4711 for a free, no-obligation consultation.