Cycling for transportation and enjoyment comes to an increase in the number of riders streets, and the potential for bicycle accidents especially cycling accidents with a car, truck or van.
If you are a bicyclist, you may have replaced your “daily drive” with a “daily ride” – to work, to school, to the store, or just around town.
What Are The Chances I’ll Be In A Crash, Anyway?
Due to the efforts of cycling advocacy groups, combined with smarter urban planning, the number of bicycle accidents has actually decreased nationwide.
The bad news? An increase in fatal accidents between bicyclists and motorists. So while your overall chances of safe riding have improved, the dangers of riding a bike in traffic are still very real.
What About My Neighborhood?
Why? Despite the creation of bicycle lanes and other safety enhancements in many California cities, the region ranks very high in traffic accidents and a culture of aggressive driving.
Avoiding Accidents and Crashes
So let’s take a look at what you need to do:
- To Avoid Accidents and
- If A Crash Occurs
Wear a Helmet
According to American Family Physician, head injuries account for up to 60 percent of cycling related deaths and the majority of long-term disabilities.
When buying a helmet, make sure it is the right size for your head. In addition, take the extra time to ensure it is adjusted correctly (a snug, not loose, fit).
It is also a good idea to wear eye protection such as sunglasses or goggles. This simple accessory will protect your eyes from glare, rain, and flying debris from roadways.
Keep Your Bike in Good Working Order
A few simple steps can make the difference between an enjoyable ride and a very bad day. First and foremost, inspect your brakes and make sure they are in good working order.
Make sure your tires have ample tread and are and properly inflated. Just as in a car or motorcycle, your tires are the only thing between you and the pavement. Treat them with care.
Install reflectors – front, back, and side. A white headlight for night riding is also required. And a bell to alert drivers, pedestrians, drivers, and other riders adds that extra security.
Check your chain, derailleur, and other moving parts. A well-maintained bike makes a happy bike – and a happy rider!
Follow the Rules of the Road
California bicycle law makes it crystal clear. Cyclists must obey the same traffic rules as motorists. So this means you must:
- Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic.
- Ride in the correct lane, including bicycle lanes where available. Only ride in the left lane when making a left turn, and use the correct hand signal.
- Avoid riding on the sidewalk, or in pedestrian crosswalks.
As a bicyclist, the law allows you to ride in the center of the lane when there is no bicycle lane, and the lane is not wide enough for you and a car to share safely.
Even though drivers have to yield to cyclists, they may be in a rush and fail to show this basic courtesy.
Today’s drivers are also distracted by cell phones and entertainment systems. Never assume that drivers will see you, or slow down for you. Be cautious and alert at all times!
In addition, as a hybrid, electric, and self-driving cars become more popular, cyclists may not always hear them coming. Always exercise an extra level of care.
Plan Your Route for Safety
A little bit of planning can go a long way. Take the time to map out a route that avoids heavy traffic and favors bicycle lanes.
You need to be aware of road conditions and steer clear of bumpy pavement and potholes – as much as this is possible.
Taking Action After A Bicycle Crash
Call the Police
While an accident may seem minor, it is extremely important to call police or 911. Not only will officers help “keep the peace” after an incident, but they are also required to file a Police Report.
Before the officer leaves the scene, make sure to review the details of the police report and ask for his or her business card, copy of the report and note the police officers badge number. You will need it.
Be Careful What You Say
After a bicycle collision – especially if you’ve fallen or been knocked off a bicycle – you may not be at your best. We understand this. But please remember a few simple tips:
- Never say “Sorry” or apologize – This may sound polite, but can be construed as an admission of guilt. At the same time, do not tell the other party that you are “OK.” In these circumstances, it is best to say as little as possible.
- Don’t discuss the accident with anyone (especially the driver who ran into you). Remember, whatever you say can be used against you later. (It’s not just a cliché…)
- Don’t post details on social media – Same reasons as above. It’s OK to talk about the accident in general with close family and friends, but caution is always the rule.
Have your phone with you (secured safely) when riding. If you are in a crash, you can snap pictures of your bike and (if possible) any cuts, scrapes or bruise you may have suffered.
See a Doctor Or go directly to Emergency Room
It may seem no harm was done if a fall or crash was minor. Even so, it is very important that you seek medical attention right away. You may have sustained injuries you cannot immediately feel or see, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
If the police or medical workers send an ambulance, do not refuse to take it. (Most insurance plans will cover most or all of the cost.) Your life, health, and well-being are what matters!
Call the Right Attorney
When it comes to lawyers and our legal system, never forget this one simple fact:
If you are in an accident, you have a legal right to recover compensation for your property, injury, pain, and suffering, cost of care, and Lost Wages.
Today more than ever, it is vital to your post-accident recovery to retain not just any lawyer, but the lawyer who will do what it takes to enable recovery and can best represent you, your family, and your individual needs.
Drake Law Firm is the choice for its proven combination of results, personal attention to clients, and willingness to go (quite literally) the extra mile!
Unlike the largest firms – where you will be lucky to even speak to the partner in charge of your case – Benjamin Drake and his highly experienced team will treat your bicycle collision or fall with the respect and dedication it deserves.
Have Questions? Give Us a Call!
We are always available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and welcome the opportunity to represent you in the most timely manner possible.