As the weather gets warmer, more people will be heading to the streets on their bikes. This summer, follow these tips to stay safe while riding your bike. And remember, always look out for bicyclists!
1. Always wear a helmet. According to the US Department of Transportation, “almost three-quarters of fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury. Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet. Helmet use among those bicyclists with serious injuries was low (13%), but it was even lower among bicyclists killed (3%).” With these kinds of numbers, it’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to wear a helmet.
2. Obey traffic laws. While riding a bike, the cyclist should work within the best of his or her abilities to ride like any other motorist. This includes using proper hand signals to indicate left and right turns to other cyclists and cars, and riding with the flow of traffic. In addition to taking the proper precautions to signal your intentions to other drivers, cyclists should always be conscious of the actions of those around them. A good piece of advice to follow is to “assume the driver does not see you.” This could mean the difference between safely crossing an intersection and ending up in the hospital.
3. Wear bright, reflective clothing when riding at night. Riding a bike at night is a risky endeavor. When it’s dark outside, road conditions and debris are harder to see. Additionally, cyclists become less visible to motorists. Wearing dark clothing and forgoing the reflectors decreases visibility, making it a dangerous choice for the cyclist. Reflective clothing, bike reflectors, and battery-powered lights are all good options when it comes to riding at night.
4. Stay in bike lanes when possible. When riding on busy roads, stick to bike lanes if they are present. Although the law requires cars and other vehicles to share the road with cyclists, this often does not happen, making bike lanes the safer option. For example, only 3% of fatal crashes in 2015 were in bike lanes. When bike lanes are not available, ride as close to the side of the road as possible while staying mindful of vehicles passing to your left. Again, always assume the driver does not see you and be sure to signal any turns.
5. Don’t drink and ride. If you wouldn’t drink and drive, don’t drink and ride. Riding your bike while intoxicated is not only dangerous to yourself and others, but can also be illegal. While you cannot be charged with a DUI while on a bicycle in New York, you can be charged with public drunkenness. According to the Department of Transportation, 27% of the cyclists killed in 2015 had been drinking. These deaths are preventable. If you have been drinking, call a cab or a sober friend to pick you up, don’t get on your bike.
All statistics cited in this article can be found on https://helmets.org/stats.htm. If you were injured, do not wait to call a Long Island bicycle accident lawyer at our office. We can meet with you to discuss your case.
Lee J. Odierno is the managing partner of Odienero Law’s no-fault department. Find out more about Lee on his profile page, or visit any of his social media profiles below: