With spring right around the corner, we know that many people are checking their tire pressure, replacing their brake pads, and getting ready to hit the road on their bicycles. Whether for commuting, fun, exercise, or competition, the Rhode Island roadways see an influx of bicycle riders this time each year.
Cycling can be a rewarding experience for a number of reasons; however, it can also be dangerous. Riding side-by-side with motor vehicles, it only takes a tiny mistake or momentary lapse in concentration to end up in a serious collision. When bikes and cars collide, in many cases, the cyclist can face life-altering or life-threatening injuries.
What Cyclists Can Do to Protect Themselves
Fortunately, there are a number of things cyclists can do to mitigate the risk of accidents and injuries. These involve wearing proper safety gear, ensuring your bike is properly equipped and in good condition, and following the rules of the road:
- Always wear a helmet. Even for short trips, a helmet should be a must-have each time you ride. Choose a helmet specifically designed for bicycle riding.
- Always wear high-visibility clothing. A high-visibility jacket can help you stand out on the road. Many manufacturers make clothing that is designed to get drivers to take notice regardless of the time of day. Avoid dark colors that can blend in with the road and whites and blues that can blend in with the sky.
- Install lights and reflectors on your bike. If you will be riding at dawn, dusk, or after dark, be sure to install reflectors and appropriate front and rear lights on your bike. Blinking lights are a good option to help get the attention of drivers.
- Inspect your bicycle before each ride. Before you hit the road, check your tires, brake pads, lights, and chain to make sure that everything is functioning properly. For longer rides, pack a basic tool kit and a spare inner tube.
- Make sure you are nourished and hydrated. You will be expending a lot of energy, so make sure that your body is up to the task. Lack of food and water can lead to slower reaction times and poor decision-making.
- Know where to ride. Cyclists generally should stay off of the sidewalks and travel in the same direction as vehicle traffic (i.e. on the right side of the road). If there is a dedicated bike lane, use it.
- Use hand signals. Do you know the universal hand signals for left, right, and stop? They are important tools for letting drivers know your intentions on the road.
- Watch out for unsafe drivers. Finally, avoid distractions and always pay attention to your surroundings. If a driver doesn’t see you or doesn’t respect your buffer, don’t try to stand your ground. Give unsafe drivers plenty of distance and avoid potentially dangerous situations whenever possible.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Bicycle Accident
Attorney Mike Bottaro has years of experience representing clients in personal injury lawsuits and insurance settlements in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC can help you obtain just compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.