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Bicycle Safety Is Mostly About Defensive Riding

Last updated Thursday, June 29th, 2023

No matter how careful you are, bicycle riding can be dangerous. While most people do their best to pay attention and watch for cyclists, all it takes is one careless driver and a little bad luck, and you could find yourself in a horrific accident. Our bicycle safety tips can help you stay defensive on the road and avoid accidents.

The first thing you should understand when you are riding your bicycle is that you might as well be invisible where some people are concerned. There have always been people out there who don’t look for pedestrians and cyclists, and this problem is getting worse with an epidemic of distracted driving.

Bicycle Safety: Prepare for the Worst Before Your Ride

It is always wise to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. When you’re riding your bike, the worst thing that can happen is to be in an accident, especially an accident where you are hit by a car or truck. Statistics show that most cyclists who receive emergency room care after an accident are adult males. Also, most bicycle fatalities are due to head injuries where the cyclist was not wearing a helmet.

Adults are not required by law to wear helmets in most jurisdictions, but it is a very good idea to wear a helmet anyway and to make sure that you’re wearing the helmet properly. Other protective gear you should use includes:

  • Bright clothing
  • Gloves
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Reflectors
  • Lights
  • Horn

A good bicycle safety tip to avoid being hit by a car on your bike is to try to make yourself visible so that even people who are not looking for you can’t help but notice you. You should wear bright clothing day and night, and the more reflectors you have on your bike the better. Reflectors catch the sun, so you should try to use all of the above during the day as well as at night. You can buy reflective adhesive strips to put on the body of your bicycle and get more reflectors for your wheels. Finally, always make sure your bicycle is in good repair. Get it checked regularly at the bicycle shop if you do not know what to look for.

Protective Maneuvers: Practice to Avoid Bike Crashes Before You Ride

Many cyclists are run down at intersections. Frequently a car turns without looking to see if a cyclist has the right of way, or a car turns right without looking to see if a cyclist is behind them. There are protective maneuvers you can practice that will help you to react reflexively to avoid a crash when a driver does something dangerous. However, you must practice the bicycle safety maneuvers ahead of time so that you can react quickly and without making a mistake in an emergency.

You can practice making a right turn along with a car that turns right into your path, and avoid a bike crash with this maneuver. In order to successfully complete the maneuver, you must first turn your handlebars left so that your bicycle leans away from the car, then turn right, along with the car. This maneuver requires practice to do safely without wiping out or being hit by the car.

When a vehicle turns left at an intersection into your path, you can turn your bicycle right to avoid being hit. Never turn your bicycle into the street to avoid being hit by a car. The danger from oncoming traffic is too great.

If somebody opens a car door in your path, do not go around the door as a reflex if it means going into the street. This is a situation where you have to pick which cycling accident will likely be the worst. You won’t have time to check for traffic behind you, and colliding with the door is better than being run down by an oncoming motorist. If you don’t have time to stop, try to stay out of the street when you collide with the door.

Bicycle Safety: Always Know and Obey the Rules of the Road

Whether or not motorists know the rules, you need to know and obey the rules for cyclists. And whatever else you do, try to be predictable while riding your bike. Use hand signals and a horn. Watch what’s going on behind you in your rear-view mirrors. Do not use earphones to listen to music, or talk on your cell while riding.

What to Do If You Are in a Bike-Car Accident

If you can get up and move after being hit by a car, you may not think you are hurt. If you are injured, you may be in shock and unable to feel the pain of your injury at first. If you move, you could make your injury worse. If you have to move to avoid being hit again, by all means, do so, then call 911 to summon police and medical help. Below are some pointers to stay as safe as possible, get help, and protect your bike accident claim.

  • Move to safety if you are in the middle of the road.
  • Call 911 for police and medical help and stay at the accident site.
  • Exchange information with the driver.
  • Get contact information from witnesses.
  • Try to remember the details of how the accident occurred and write it down.
  • Be sure to give these details to the police.
  • Photograph the car that hit you and the bicycle damage.
  • Photograph your injuries.
  • Call a bicycle accident lawyer ASAP.

Isaacs & Isaacs Attorneys Will Negotiate a Fair Settlement With the Insurance Company

Insurance companies do not willingly offer fair settlements for injury claims. They will offer you the least amount of money possible for your injuries. Even if you were wearing a helmet, chances are that if you hit your head, were shaken violently, or landed funny after being thrown in the air, your injuries could be worse than you suspect. With some injuries, the examining doctor may not even know how badly you are hurt at first.

You want to receive a fair settlement that will accurately reflect

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Disability
  • Pain and suffering

It is crucial that you consult an attorney with experience in bicycle accidents and the long-term outcomes of serious injuries.

An Isaacs & Isaacs bicycle accident lawyer knows how to prove liability, including how seriously you are hurt and what the long-term prognosis of your injury could be. We employ attorneys who used to work in insurance defense, so we are aware of some of the strategies the liable party’s insurance company might use against you.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you will need an attorney, you can call 800-333-9999 to speak to an Isaacs & Isaacs bicycle accident lawyer. We will be happy to assist you and answer your questions free of charge.

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