Between the warm weather of summer and the desire to get in shape while cutting fuel costs, children aren’t the only ones riding bikes in traffic these days. Even when you have the right-of-way as a cyclist, drivers might not see you or expect you—and the results can be deadly. Following these bicycle safety guidelines will help keep both adults and children safe, whether they’re riding around with friends or commuting to work.
Always Wear a Helmet
Recent studies have shown that wearing a helmet while biking can reduce your risk of a serious head injury by 70 percent. It’s not always comfortable to wear, but a helmet can help keep you safe during a bicycle accident. Don’t ride without one.
Dress to Stand Out
When you’re riding in traffic, you want drivers to see you so they can give you space and avoid you, in the daytime as well as at night. Wearing “light colors” is a bit nondescript because wearing white can cause you to blend in, for example. Instead, Cycling Weekly recommends wearing fluorescent colors in the daytime since the daylight gives these colors and extra glow. Bright greens, yellows and oranges also work well. Avoid dark colors, especially at night. Wear reflective clothing at night whenever possible.
Follow Traffic Rules
When you’re on a bike, act like you’re driving a car. Ride with the traffic on the right side of the road, use hand signals for braking and turning, stop at red lights, etc. Bicyclists who flaut the rules when it’s “convenient” are the ones most at risk for getting hit.
When riding in traffic, ride in as straight a line as possible, avoiding sudden stops and quick turns that might throw a nearby driver off guard. Do your best to position yourself where drivers expect you to be on the road, and you’ll avoid most mishaps.
Keep a Sharp Eye Out
As a cyclist, you will likely see other drivers before they see you—so anticipate their moves. Look far ahead to watch for traffic entering the street at intersections. If you’re riding by parked cars, glance into the windows to watch for drivers who might throw a car door open in front of you. Looking ahead and anticipating can protect you from injury or death.
If a driver’s negligence results in injury for you or someone you love, we can help. Call our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys for more information.