In recent years, bicycling has exploded as a popular form of recreation, travel, and a way to save on gas. Many people are even seeing the environmental advantages of cutting down on traffic and carbon emissions by driving less and bicycling more. Whatever your reason for bicycling, this activity is a great way to stay in shape and even spend time with friends while hitting the road.
However, bicycling doesn’t come without hazards. As more and more people opt for this form of travel, accidents between bicycles and motor vehicles have risen. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 857 bicyclists were killed in the United States in 2018 alone. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of bicyclists are injured in traffic accidents every single year. This is why it’s so critical for both drivers and bicyclists to be aware and practice safe habits while sharing the road.
If you ever find yourself involved in a bike accident in Colorado, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced Denver bicycle accident attorney. When you’re not sure where to turn, don’t hesitate to Call Paul. Here at the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm, we’re dedicated to defending the rights of anyone involved in bike accidents, truck accidents, car accidents, and many other types of personal injury cases. Even if you believe you’re partially at fault, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our firm will educate you on what to do next and show you your options and determine whether or not your case is entitled to any form of legal compensation.
Of course, we always hope that you will never be involved in a bike accident in the first place. That’s why we believe education is such an important tool. In this blog, we’re looking at preventative measures to avoid bike accidents. These practical safety tips will help keep you, and everyone else, safer on the road.
1. Keep up with bicycle maintenance.
One of the most important ways to avoid a road bicycle accident is to keep up with regular bicycle maintenance. Before every ride, you should check on the ABC’s of your bike. This stands for air, brakes, and chain. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and check your front and rear brakes to ensure a response. You should also give your chain and gears a quick visual inspection before hopping on your bike. Regularly lubricating your bike chain makes it easier to shift gears and extends the life of your drivetrain.
Bicycle maintenance should be practiced in the long and short term, which means always being prepared for an accident or bike malfunction. It’s smart to carry an air pump with you and any other small tools you may need for a spur-of-the-moment repair. You should also carry a cell phone in case of an accident.
2. Wear bright and reflective clothing.
Even during the day, you should always wear bright and reflective clothing when riding your bike. Fluorescent colors are an ideal choice for many bicyclists. You can even attach reflectors to your helmet, bicycle, or even your clothing to appear even more visible. This is especially important whenever riding at night.
3. Wear the proper safety gear.
In addition to bright and reflective clothing, you should always wear the proper safety gear. Even if you’re only taking a short ride around the neighborhood, you can never predict the behavior of drivers. Of course, you could even fall off your bike for another reason, like uneven terrain.
4. Obey all traffic laws and signs.
Being safe on the road is a responsibility to be shared by everyone on the road—bicyclists included. Obey all traffic laws and signs just like a driver would. As a bicyclist, you aren’t exempt from any traffic laws.
5. Ride with the flow of traffic.
For novice riders, it might make sense to drive against traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles; however, this is not an advisable way to ride on the roads. Riding with the flow of traffic has been proven to be safer and is even legally required in many states.
6. Tuck your shoelaces.
It’s not just a fashion statement for bicyclists to tuck their shoelaces into their pants or socks while riding. Long shoelaces can easily get tangled in your gears and chain and lead to a sudden accident.
7. Always assume the driver can’t see you.
Some safety advocates say that bicyclists should always ride as if they’re invisible. Now, this doesn’t mean you should act invisible, but rather, always assume that motor vehicle drivers can’t see you. Be conspicuous in your movements and actions and always look twice at any stop or intersection. Never assume a driver sees you. Even if they do, they may not give you the appropriate space on the road.
8. Stay free of distractions.
To prevent bike accidents, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings. On the open road, conditions can change immediately and you must be prepared to safely and effectively respond. For example, you never know when a car may be speeding around a corner or a sharp turn. This is why it’s advised to stay free of distractions by not listening to music or talking on your phone while riding.
By remembering these important bicycle safety tips, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident.
BICYCLE TRAFFIC LAWS IN COLORADO
Each state has its own bicycle traffic laws that determine the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists on the road. To keep everyone safer on roadways, here’s a look at some of the bicycle traffic laws in Colorado:
- While helmets are not required by law, they are highly recommended.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) both apply to bicyclists. These laws also apply to the use of legal drugs, such as marijuana.
- Bicyclists are permitted (and encouraged) to use bike lanes, but this is not a legal requirement.
- Bicyclists must use hand signals when turning or making a stop.
- Bicyclists must ride no more than two riders abreast.
- Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all traffic lights and stop signs.
- Bicyclists may ride on sidewalks in most areas. However, some larger cities, like Denver, prohibit this riding practice.
- All bikes must be outfitted with a front headlight, a rear reflector or light, and brakes.
CONCLUSION – HOW TO AVOID BIKE ACCIDENTS
Bicycling is an excellent way to get exercise, spend time with friends or family, explore your town, and save on gas and other transportation costs. But this recreational activity doesn’t come without some inherent risks. Whenever you’re sharing the road with motor vehicles, there’s always the risk of an accident, which, for bicyclists, can lead to substantial injuries. Hopefully, these safe riding tips can help you avoid bike accidents and enjoy your time out there on the road—wherever it may take you.
However, if you find yourself involved in a bicycle accident, you should reach out to an experienced Denver personal injury attorney. Following a bike accident, the last thing you should be worrying about is paying for medical bills, recovering wages, or the long and drawn-out process of fighting your case in the courts. Since our focus is on getting you the compensation you deserve, the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm operates strictly on contingency fees. What does this mean? We only get paid if you win.
Contact us at the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation to see the options available for you and your case and let us help you on the road to recovery.