Person rides a bike on a city street

3 Ways to Avoid Bicycle Accidents as a Rider & a Driver

Resolve to Improve Your Bicycle Safety in 2021

As the new year begins, many people are looking for ways to get outside and exercise. One of the most popular ways to improve cardiovascular health is cycling.

Cycling is growing in popularity in the U.S., especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Individuals and families alike have found cycling to be a great way to get exercise while also socially distancing.

However, with an increase of cyclists on the road, many of them relatively new to the hobby, there is also an increased risk of cycling accidents. Unfortunately, accidents involving bicycles tend to be quite serious. Due to their limited protection, cyclists often suffer significant injuries. Whether you’re a cyclist or a motorist, this year, resolve to commit to improved road safety.

Keep reading for three ways to avoid bicycle accidents!

Be Aware & Alert

If you are a cyclist, you must remain aware and alert to what is going on around you. Because you are significantly smaller than a car or even a motorcycle, you are much less visible to motorists. And if a motorist does not see you, an accident is more likely to happen. Before heading out on the road, make sure your bike is in good working order and has lights or reflective gear attached to it, especially when riding at night. It is also recommended that you wear brightly colored, reflective gear in addition to your helmet and other safety gear.

As a motorist, it is your responsibility to be on the lookout for cyclists. This is especially important in areas where there is no dedicated cycling lane. Because cyclists have the same right to the road as you do, they may be in the main lanes of traffic, especially in areas where there are no dedicated bicycle lanes. Always look around you before making turns, changing lanes, or entering intersections.

Follow the California Vehicle Code

Both motorists and cyclists must adhere to the California Vehicle Code, and cyclists have the same rights and are subject to all applicable provisions within that code. For example, just as motorists are prohibited from driving under the influence, so are bicyclists. Similarly, cyclists must follow all road signs, obey speed limits, and signal appropriately, just as if they were operating a car or other vehicle.

Are you a new cyclist or a motorist unfamiliar with bicycling hand signals and what they mean? You can review this useful hand signal handout from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Share the Road with Others

One of the most important things to remember as a motorist is that you are expected to share the road with cyclists. This means yielding to cyclists when appropriate, just as you would to other motorists. You should also give them adequate room. Do not follow them too closely and, when passing, follow the same protocol you would when passing a car. Wait to pass a cyclist until you can safely move into an adjacent lane.

As a cyclist, do not assume you have the right of way. While pedestrians enjoy the right of way, cyclists are treated as motorists and are generally expected to share the same roadways. If there is a dedicated bicycle lane, you should use it.

It is also important to be aware of local restrictions regarding where you can ride your bike. For example, many cyclists are surprised to find that sidewalk riding is restricted in many areas. However, in areas where sidewalk-riding is allowed, make sure you share the pathway with pedestrians and always give them the right of way. Install a bell on your bike and call out to pedestrians before you pass them so they know to expect you. For example, you can ring your bell and then call out, “passing on your left!” These measures can help you avoid pedestrian-cyclist accidents.

What to Do When Accidents Happen

Despite our best efforts, accidents still happen. When they do, you want to make sure you seek immediate medical attention. If the accident resulted from someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and any loss of property. To get support after a bicycle accident, reach out to a trusted lawyer familiar with bicycle injury cases, like Attorney Yasmine Djawadian at YD Injury Law. As a law firm, we are committed to giving our clients the compassionate, strong legal representation they need.

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