Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. Many people pull out their bikes this time of year to get some exercise and do something fun. However, it’s important to keep safety at the top of your list. Wearing a helmet is a must, as even the smallest fall can cause serious injuries to your brain. Further, since you can’t control how other people act, you expose yourself to added risk should you be struck by a vehicle. In fact, there have already been 12 deaths in Orange County this year caused by a car striking a bicyclist on the road. This matches the total number for last year, and we still have four months left in the year.
While those numbers are grim, it’s a good reminder to take extra precaution when you do ride your bike to stay safe.
Don’t ride on the sidewalk
Most accidents occur between cars and bicycles when the driver of the car doesn’t see the bicyclist. Since bicycles are supposed to be ridden on the road, people don’t expect to see them on the sidewalk and aren’t looking for them. If you are riding your bike on the sidewalk, you increase your chance of accident when you cross intersections or driveways. Follow the rules of the road and stay on the road and stay off the sidewalk.
Ride on the right side of the street
When you do ride on the street, be sure to ride in the same direction as traffic is going. If you ride against the flow of traffic, you dramatically increase you risk of an accident. Since you and the car are riding towards each other, it gives the driver less time to be able to react should he or she drift into the bike lane or need to make a right turn. Additionally, if you are riding on the wrong side of the road and a driver is turning left onto a street or into a driveway, the driver won’t see you as you will be coming from behind him on the other side of the road.
Use a headlight
If you are riding at night, you have to use a headlight, but you should use one even if you are riding during the day. At night, a headlight will let drivers know where you are and make you visible. During the day, it will give drivers another way to see you. In addition to a headlight, getting a tail-light is also important to make you visible when drivers are coming up behind you.
Wear bright or reflective clothing
Making yourself as visible and noticeable as possible is the best way to stay safe. Invest in biking gear that is bright and includes reflective patches. Even if you are riding during the day, it will help you stand out and be seen. The more visible you can make yourself, the less likely you will get into an accident.
In addition to these tips, it’s always important to pay attention to your surroundings. While you can’t prevent all accidents from happening, the more you can bike defensively, the safer you will stay.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident by a car and would like to talk to an attorney about what your options are, please call us at 949-496-7000. The first call is always free and we will help you determine your options.