Tips to Help Pennsylvania Bicyclists Avoid an Accident
As summer draws near, many of us choose to increase our bicycle riding. Bicyclists face unique safety challenges due to the fact that they often share the road with motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year approximately 50,000 people are hurt in accidents involving vehicles and bicycles. Children account for about 13,000 of those injuries.
Fortunately, there are practical tips to help avoid bicycle accidents. First, start by checking your equipment, which includes making sure your tires are not flat or worn out. Brake cables should be inspected and adjusted as necessary, since these stretch when used. Place reflectors on the bicycle itself or your backpack or jacket.
Next, when choosing a bike route, look for those that maintain bike lanes or shoulders, and avoid riding with heavy traffic. Choose to bike when roads are quieter, rather than during rush hour. Statistics demonstrate most bicycle fatalities occur from 6-9 p.m.
On the road, it is important to follow the rules, as you would when driving. Stop at stop signs and red traffic lights. Vehicles on the road expect you to stop, and if you do not, you may cause an accident. Ride with the traffic and not against it. Always use hand signals when turning, so others on the road can anticipate your turn.
Never assume that a driver has seen you on the road. Try to make eye contact, and provide extra space when biking past parked cars. Opening car doors pose serious hazards to bicyclists. In certain cases, if you feel uncomfortable on the road or are overwhelmed by the amount of traffic, move your bicycle to the sidewalk and walk along with it until you arrive in a less congested area.
Overall, bikers should be defensive when riding. This minimizes the risk of accidents. Even if you have the right of way, you will not be saved from injury if you encounter an inattentive or reckless motorist. Be cautious on the road.
For a refresher course, or if you have children ages 5-18 who plan on biking, check out the Federal Highway Administration safety videos here.
Reckless Drivers and their Insurers Can be Held Accountable for Bicycle Accident Injuries
Injuries resulting from motor vehicle/bicycle accidents can be severe, ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries. One fact that many riders may not know is that their medical bills and related damages may be covered by car insurance. If a driver is at fault for your injuries, the driver’s auto insurance may cover your damages. In certain circumstances, your own policy (or your family’s policy if you are a minor) will cover your damages.
If you are injured by a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle, seek out the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at Needle Law Firm. Our experienced attorneys advocate on behalf of accident victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania. We provide a no-obligation consultation and can be reached by calling (570) 344-1266.