Taking your bike out for a spin is the perfect way to get some exercise and unwind while enjoying the outdoors, but this popular pastime can take a dangerous turn in the blink of an eye. Although bicyclists are granted the same rights as other vehicles on the road, motorists continue to pose deadly risks to those on two wheels.
You should always wear a helmet and proper safety gear when you ride, but these items unfortunately won’t offer much protection during a run-in with a motor vehicle. Taking steps to prevent these incidents before they occur, regardless of who would have been responsible, is the best approach to safe riding.
6 tips for preventing bike accidents
1. Catch their attention. Always wear brightly colored, reflective clothing while you ride, and equip your bike with a headlight and taillight to help attract the eye of inattentive drivers. Taking these simple precautions can greatly decrease your odds of an accident, even during daylight hours.
2. Choose a safe time to ride. While it can be convenient to ride in the evening or early morning, doing so often compromises your safety and visibility. According to the NHTSA, 20% of bicyclist deaths occur between 6 and 9 p.m., so be especially careful when riding during those hours.
3. Take advantage of safe spaces. Many cities are beginning to take the needs of bicyclists into consideration by creating dedicated lanes and bike paths. Ride in these designated areas whenever possible to put some space between your bike and potential threats to your safety.
4. Watch for aggressive or distracted drivers. If you notice a vehicle moving erratically or a driver who is clearly distracted or experiencing road rage, do your best to remove yourself from their immediate surroundings. If necessary, pull off to the side of the road and allow them to pass.
5. Always ride defensively. Even if you obey all of the laws, traffic signs, signals and lane markings, you can’t guarantee that other motorists will do the same. Don’t leave your safety in their hands – pay attention to everything going on around you and be prepared to react at any given time.
6. Be mindful of your actions. Bicycles have the same rights as other vehicles, and they also take on the same responsibilities. Be courteous to those around you to help traffic flow smoothly and avoid accidents on the road. Learn more about the laws that apply while riding in Ohio.
Bike accidents: Who is liable?
When it comes to crashes involving a bicycle and motor vehicle, liability is typically determined by who had the right of way. However, every bicycle accident is different and many other facts and circumstances need to be carefully considered when evaluating each scenario.
“Establishing the liability in these cases is unique and requires appropriate and timely investigation,” says Elk & Elk Partner John O’Neil, who has extensive experience handling cases involving bicycle accident injuries.
If you or someone you love was injured in a bike accident, it is vital to have your claim reviewed by an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Elk & Elk today for a free evaluation of your case.