WHEN THE weather warms up, people hit the roads and paths on their bikes. But for many people who don’t ride often, they may make dangerous mistakes while sharing the road with vehicles.
If a vehicle strikes a bicyclist, the ensuing injuries may be severe or potentially fatal. Most car vs. bike accidents happen during the spring and summer so it’s good to understand the risks and how to prevent accidents.
What bicyclists can do
About 75% of bicyclists reported wearing reflective gear at night, and many reported properly following the rules of the road consistently in a survey. Follow these steps.
Ride with the flow of traffic. Since drivers do not expect bicyclists to approach from the front, they may not know what to do. Also, it is dangerous to turn in front of oncoming vehicles.
Be a predictable bicyclist. When preparing to turn, signal with your hands before doing so. Always look before turning and avoid making any sudden moves. To be safe, you can pretend that vehicles do not see them and should act accordingly.
Always be prepared to stop. Be prepared to stop at intersections and in front of driveways.
Stay alert. Don’t use headphones and listen to music while cycling. Also don’t talk on the phone or attempt to text while riding. as possible by avoiding the use of electronic devices.
Watch for swerve-worthy hazards. Pot holes, debris that falls off of cars, storm grates and uneven surfaces can all cause bicyclists to make the choice between swerving into traffic or hitting the object and falling. If there are bike paths or bike lanes, always ride on them before choosing a public sidewalk or a street. Keep in mind that pedestrians always have the right of way on a sidewalk. In some places, it may be illegal to ride on the sidewalk.
Always stay visible. When there is dim light or no light, wear reflective gear. Drivers cannot always see bicyclists at night. If possible, stay off the road when it is raining and right after rains.
Wear a helmet. Shop around to find one that fits properly. Choose one that is certified, and check for recalls on CPSC.gov.
What Drivers Can Do
Drivers must always be vigilant for bicyclists on the road. Many cities are now adding “sharrows” to the roads. These are arrows that indicate a shared right lane for bicyclists and motorists.
When these arrows are present, it is courteous for drivers to use the lane only for making a right turn if there are bicyclists using it. These are some additional helpful tips.
Be a predictable driver. Always use signals when turning or changing lanes. Do not assume that bicyclists can see as well. They may not have mirrors. Keep a safe distance away from them at the rear, side and front. Allow plenty of room for passing.
Avoid using a mobile device while driving. Since bicyclists often travel considerably slower than vehicles, drivers may approach them quickly. Distracted drivers who are using mobile devices may not be able to brake in time to avoid an accident.
For more information, discuss your concerns with Mark or any of our agents at Premier Insurance Services.