Top 5 Bike Accident Prevention Tips

As the beautiful sunshine in Washington begins to peek through the clouds this summer, many of us will be rekindling the urge to take our bikes out for a spin. In order to have as much fun as possible, it is important to understand and guard against the risks involved in cycling in an urban environment. As a Seattle personal injury attorney and a King County car accident attorney, I have worked with clients on bicycle accidents and understand the potential dangers we must face. In 2008, bicycle accidents across the country claimed the lives of 716 people. Cycling injuries are also common, with more than 52,000 bicycle injuries in 2008. While these figures represent a small fraction of the total number of car-related accidents and deaths, they can be greatly reduced with certain safety precautions.

Cycling the streets of crowded neighborhoods can be tricky. Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Spokane, Everett and many other cities have busy roads that can make it difficult for cyclists to pass. Working with bicycle accident clients, I have listed the 5 most important pieces of advice for reducing the risk of accidents while cycling.

1. Keep away from sidewalks: Bike lanes are great for both drivers and cyclists and should be used whenever possible. However, when there are no bike lanes, the legal and safest way to ride a bike is on the street. The sidewalks are packed with pedestrians, making the road almost non-existent for drivers and cyclists. Many potential accidents can occur in this manner. The most common scenario is that you are approaching a crosswalk and a car on the other side of the street is making a left turn. In a sea of ​​people, the driver may not see the bike. So someone turning left might not recognize how fast you are biking, and then turn right into you. Accidents are momentary mistakes, and accidents are more likely to occur when visibility changes in some way. Stay on the street because that’s where oncoming traffic can see you.

2. Protect your brain! While it may not be state law yet, many cities and counties require cyclists to wear helmets. King County, Tacoma, Renton, Puyallup, Spokane, Lakewood, and many other places have implemented the law, just to name a few. As a personal injury attorney, I have seen firsthand how different the medical impact can be between those who wear helmets and those who don’t. Your parents didn’t lie to you when you were a kid. Research shows that using a helmet reduces head injuries by 85%. A helmet can save your life, and it can save you some headaches caused by insurance not paying for all damages.

3. Don’t swim against the current: Riding against the current may feel the same as riding with the current, or even more comfortable, but it is much more dangerous. When you’re driving in the opposite direction, reaction times are greatly reduced because you and the cars on the road are both approaching each other at a fairly high speed. Going with the flow of traffic means the car will be coming towards you from behind, which gives them time to adjust to you if necessary. A common accident that can happen when driving in the wrong direction is when a car approaches your street at an intersection. If they want to turn right into your street, they’ll look left because all the cars will be coming from there. However, you’ll be going the wrong way, so coming from the right side of this car. Without seeing you, this is an accident waiting to happen, the car could turn right and hit you.

4. Good light: If you don’t have a headlight and flash, either don’t ride at night or go to the store to get one right away. With no lights, you’re just asking for an accident. Not only are these lights a smart choice for night riding, but they are also required by law. You may have the best eyesight in the world and can see at night as well as during the day, but these lights are just as important to drivers on the road as you are. Like driving, biking at night increases risk. Make yourself as visible as possible, or stay home and wait for the next day’s sunshine.

5. Stay where they can see you: Probably the easiest step, saved for last. Riding slowly can make your ride safer in two ways. First, it’s easier to avoid potholes or debris in the road when you’re driving slowly because it gives you time to react to what you see. Riding slowly also gives drivers on the road more time to see you before you reach an intersection or place where an accident may occur. Avoiding blind spots on a bicycle is equivalent to avoiding blind spots in a car next to a truck. Cars are not easily seen by truck drivers and cyclists are not easily seen by cars. Avoid potentially bad situations by staying behind or in front of cars, especially at traffic lights.

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