Bike riders and drivers, please take extra caution this week. We are celebrating Bike to Work Week and some very important rules must be followed in order to avoid a serious accident.
At Cardone Law Firm, our New Orleans personal injury attorneys want you to be safe this week and at all times when using a bicycle, whether it’s for exercise or personal transportation.
Statistics Regarding Auto-Bicycle Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017, more than 700 bicyclists lost their lives in the United States in traffic collisions. Most occurred as a result of motorists not carefully watching their surroundings. Additionally:
- Most bicyclist deaths occur between 6 p. m. and 9 p. m.
- 75 percent of deaths occur in urban areas in comparison to rural areas, where approximately 25 percent of fatalities occur.
- Male riders lost their lives at a rate eight times higher than female riders in 2017.
- Alcohol was involved in 37 percent of fatal bicycle accidents in 2017.
Safety Tips for Motorists
The key tip for motorists to remember is they are not the only ones on the road. There are others on the road, including bicyclists and motorcyclists, who deserve the same level of protection and care as any other vehicle.
Below are a few tips motorists should follow to better protect themselves and bicyclists:
- Yield to a bicyclist whenever necessary or required. Also, avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk at an intersection or driveway as they likely cannot see your turn signals.
- Check your surroundings for other vehicles and bicyclists when you’re in a parking lot or at stop sign. Children and inexperienced bicyclists often take unexpected actions and it is important that you – as a motorist – take the necessary precautions.
- If you are making a left turn, take a second to scan for any bicyclists that may be attempting to cross the road. Too often, motorists will only pay heed to other cars driving towards them but fail to note pedestrians and others at a crosswalk.
- Always obey the speed limit and reduce your speed as necessary depending on road conditions. Speed is a frequent factor in auto-pedestrian accidents and is one thing that can be managed by the motorist.
- Give bicyclists sufficient room on the road. If you want to change lanes, make sure it’s safe to move over and never use a bicycle lane to make a right turn.
Safety Tips Bicyclists Should Follow
While motorists should be responsible when out on the road, bicyclists need to uphold their duty as well. Reckless maneuvers or attempting to cross a busy road at the wrong time can lead to a serious, or even deadly, accident.
Below are a few safety tips that all bicyclists should use:
- Always use a helmet: A helmet is absolutely necessary for protecting your head and inhibiting a traumatic brain injury.
- The right bike: Ride a bike that fits your stature; you can’t ride well if the bike is too big as it will be harder to control.
- Attire: Whether day or night riding, wear protective gear and visible clothing. Wear bright clothing during the daytime and at night wear a reflective vest with reflectors on your bike.
- Bike control: Only one rider per seat with both hands on the handlebars unless you plan to signal a turn.
- Carrying items: Use a backpack or some other type of bag to carry all of your items. Strap the backpack or bag to the back of the bike so it won’t be in the way of your driving.
- Protect yourself: To avoid getting your clothes caught in the bike, tuck and tie your shoelaces and pant legs inside your shoes.
- Plan Ahead: If you’re planning to ride somewhere that is long distance, choose a route with less traffic and slower speeds. Try to avoid heavy traffic areas altogether.
Ride safely during Bike to Work Week.