Ways to Stop Bicycle Accidents & Minimize Injuries In Case One Happens
Bicyclists must be constantly aware of their surroundings when traveling on public streets and roadways, as they are more susceptible to serious injury in a crash. In even a low speed bicycle accident, the bicyclist can suffer a brain injury, back injury, or another form of catastrophic harm. Staying alert and keeping basic safety methods and hints in mind can help you avoid a collision with a motorist and stay safe and sound.
Whenever you ride your bicycle, remember these basic safety tips:
- Safety equipment: Never go bicycling without all of the appropriate safety equipment. Florida does not have a helmet law for adults over the age of 21, but this does not mean you should ride your bike without a helmet. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), helmets are the single-most effective way to prevent head and brain injuries in an accident. When a helmet is used and fitted appropriately, it has an 86.5% chance on average of reducing the impact to the bicyclist’s head to the point where no lasting harm is done.
- Be visible: You can also improve the safety of your situation while riding your bicycle by wearing gear and clothing that makes you more visible to others on the road. Bright colors stand out easily among traffic and reflective patches or stripes will glow at night whenever a car’s headlights approach. You can also buy lights to affix to your bicycle to improve your visibility.
- Training: Confidence in your own bicycle riding skills is crucial to stay safe while you are riding, especially while around traffic. If you do not know how to control your bicycle in hectic situations, you might want to practice maneuvers and balance in a public park or around your neighborhood.
- Command your lane: Sometimes a bicyclist hugs the absolute edge of their lane when traveling on a street with cars in an attempt to give the cars ample passing space. A bicyclist who does not take more space in the lane can actually endanger themselves, though. They will shrink their own visible presence, increasing the chances of a driver not registering the bicyclist is there and either rear ending them or sideswiping them. Cars waiting to turn from intersecting lanes may also jut out the nose of their vehicles directly in front of the bicyclist unknowingly if the rider is clinging too closely to the lane’s edge.
- Use bike paths: Wherever designated bike paths or lanes have been paved throughout your city, you should make good use of them. Not only do they often provide a way to major community hubs without having to worry about cars, but they also decrease your liability dramatically in case you do get hit by a motorist. By abiding by the rules and using bike lanes, you show you took every precaution to stay safe while the other party in your bicycle accident did not.
- Steer clear of sidewalks: It might be tempting to ride your bicycle down sidewalks to distance yourself from traffic, but this will most likely increase your chances of getting hurt, or hurting someone else. Pedestrians pay even less attention to their surroundings than drivers. You could try to cycle past someone on foot, only to have them unexpectedly cross right in front of you, resulting in a serious crash. Sidewalks are all the more dangerous if there are cars parked alongside the road or shopfronts along the path, as doors can be swung open in front of you with no warning.
Representation for When a Bicycle Accident Does Occur
Even with all possible precautions and safety gear, you could end up in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another party. In case this does happen – or if it already has – you can depend on The Pittman Firm, P.A. and its Florida bicycle accident attorney, Wes Pittman. The firm brings 30+ years of legal experience and genuine compassion to each case it handles, giving clients peace of mind from the beginning to the end. Contact the firm today to discuss how you can seek fair compensation for any damages after a bicycle accident.