How to Prevent Bike Accidents
We all hope that we’ll never have to call a bicycle accident lawyer in Denver, but in reality, bicycle accidents happen every single day. A collision between a motor vehicle and a bicycle can be even more dangerous as a bicyclist has very little protection between them and the road or the vehicle. Bicycle accidents often lead to serious injuries (or even death), which is all the more reason why both drivers and bicyclists need to take steps toward preventing these accidents and keeping our roads safer for everyone.
Here, we’re taking a closer look at the common causes of bicycle and motor vehicle accidents and steps you can take to prevent these collisions. You may be surprised at how simple and easy many of these tips are and the major impact they can make on keeping you safe. Bicycling is a great way to get outdoors, get exercise, and spend time with friends or family. Ride safe to ensure you can enjoy to continue this great activity.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
While bicycling is a great way to stay healthy, it doesn’t come without its hazards. As more people enjoy the benefits of cycling, collisions between bicycles and cars have risen. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2018 saw 857 bicyclists killed due to crashes with motor vehicles. On top of that, hundreds of thousands of bicyclists are injured in traffic accidents every year.
By understanding common causes of bike accidents, we can better work to keep our roads safe for everyone. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Poor visibility (especially at night).
- Distracted drivers.
- Aggressive driving.
- Driving under the influence.
- Dangerous road conditions.
- Adverse weather.
- Failure to yield (by either the motorist or bicyclist).
Tips to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
It’s the responsibility of everyone on the road, bicyclists and pedestrians included, to keep our roads and highways safe. There are many ways that both bicyclists and motorists can help to prevent bicycle accidents to reduce injuries and save lives.
Before you strap on your helmet for your next ride, consider these tips for preventing bicycle accidents. It may make all the difference.
- Wear bright, reflective clothing: even when riding during the day, you should always wear bright, reflective colors to help vehicles see you on the road. You can also attach small reflectors to your helmet, bicycle, or clothing to help you remain more visible even in low light. When possible, try to avoid riding at dusk or night, as low visibility is one of the leading causes of bicycle accidents.
- Wear appropriate safety gear: additionally, you should always wear proper safety gear—even if you’re just going for a ride around the block. You can never predict the actions of drivers, so be sure to always wear a helmet when riding. Protective eyewear or cycling clothes made of tough, durable materials can also be beneficial. Without safety gear, even just a fall can prove dangerous.
- Obey all traffic laws and signage: traffic laws need to be adhered by everyone using a roadway. Some cyclists may assume that certain signage doesn’t necessarily pertain to them, but this is incorrect. Blowing past a stop sign can lead to a dangerous collision whether with a motor vehicle or pedestrian. When biking on major roads especially, bicyclists should obey traffic laws just like they’re in a car.
- Never assume a driver can see you: some safety experts tell bicyclists that you should ride as if you’re invisible. This means you can never assume that a driver can see you. When crossing a road or traffic, try to make eye contact with oncoming drivers. Never shift lanes suddenly or blow by an intersection without stopping or yielding to any oncoming traffic.
- Ride with the flow of traffic: whenever possible, make sure that you’re riding in the same direction of traffic. This means riding on the right side of the road so that drivers have a better opportunity to see you.
- Avoid any potential distractions: these days with so many portable devices, it’s easier than ever to get distracted while riding. But just like a driver behind the wheel, you need to stay fully focused on the road and the act of riding. You never know when a car will act unpredictably, requiring you to make a sudden stop or turn. Avoid listening to music or talking on the phone while riding, even if you are using a hands-free device or headset on your bike.
- Keep up with regular bike maintenance: one of the most effective ways to avoid bicycle accidents or falls is by keeping up with your routine maintenance. Before you ride, be sure to check on what is called the ABCs of bicycle care, which stands for Air, Brakes, and Chain. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and pump the front and rear brakes quickly to check that they work. You should also give your chain and gears a quick visual inspection before heading out on your ride. Be sure to also regularly lubricate your bike chains and the moving components to make it easier to shift fears. Not only does this keep you safer on the road, but it can also extend the life of your bicycle.
Conclusion – How to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
Riding your bicycle is a great way to get some exercise, spend time with friends, explore your town, and even save on gas and other transportation expenses. But it’s also critical to stay safe while taking your bike out, even if this means you’re simply going around your neighborhood for a quick ride. Be sure to wear bright, reflective clothing, avoid poor road conditions, ride with the flow of traffic, and always keep up with regular bicycle maintenance. Hopefully these safe bicycling tips can help you avoid bike accidents in the future and you can then better enjoy your time out there on the road, wherever it may take you.