Bicycles are a nifty mode of communication. They are small, cheap, and easy to ride. They cost 1/10th and 1/100th of the average price of a motorcycle and car respectively. What’s more, they need no gas and are easy to store. Many people also love cycling because it’s a very effective cardio exercise. In short, cycling to work or to run errands can be beneficial in many ways.
While all this is true, a major pitfall is that bicycles are very prone to accidents. With more people taking to cycling for its numerous benefits, bicycle accident cases have also shot up. Deaths in bicycle accident cases have increased from 785 – 1024 over the span of 10 years from 2009 to 2018. This is really alarming for people who want to ride a bicycle for recreation and more.
How to avoid bicycle accidents?
If you are riding a bicycle, you must be aware of the traffic rules just like any other driver. Traffic rules are made for all and obeying them will prevent accidents to a great extent. Here are 5 traffic rules that you should always follow:
1. Riding with traffic
Unlike films, riding against traffic isn’t cool or safe, for that matter. You should always cycle with the traffic to make the ride safer for you. There are many reasons why you should do this. First, when you ride with traffic, you reduce the speed difference between your cycle and other vehicles. So, the impact will be less even if you are hit by another vehicle. Secondly, when you cycle with traffic, you are better seen by other drivers. But when you ride the opposite way, you may not at all be seen by drivers, and accidents are bound to happen. Thirdly, since traffic signs face the traffic plying, you will not be able to follow them properly. Moreover, cycling in the opposite direction is against the law.
2. Following traffic rules
It goes without saying but you must follow all traffic rules while cycling on road. When you follow the rules, you reduce the chances of an accident due to your own fault.
3. Giving way to traffic
While riding a cycle, you should watch out for other vehicles closely. It is essential that you give way to traffic as and when necessary. You should never try to block the road for other vehicles. A bicycle is just like another vehicle and you do not have right of way at all times. So, you have to allow other vehicles to pass at crossways or intersections to avoid accidents.
4. Staying alert
When you are on road, you have to always stay alert or accidents can happen, more so to cyclists because they have very little protection against impact. While cycling, you should always look out for potholes, slippery roads, road cracks, or any other obstacle that may come your way. You should also watch out for parked vehicles that may get into motion suddenly or open a door. You shouldn’t also be distracted while cycling or you may face an accident because of your own fault. Avoid using a phone or listening to music while cycling unless you are on roads with infrequent traffic.
5. Looking before turning
Before you take that turn, always look for vehicles on both sides. Riding a bicycle is quite similar to driving a car or riding a motorcycle. You must be aware of other vehicles before making a turn or an accident can happen at any time. Moreover, you have to signal before you turn so that other vehicles become aware that you about to turn and yield the way. You can either use hand signals or buy one for your bicycle and use it like the ones on a car or motorcycle.
6. Being on the furthest right
According to traffic rules, the lanes on the furthest right are for slow vehicles like bicycles. So, while cycling, you must be as far to the right as possible. However, this will also depend on the speed at which you are cycling. If there are slower vehicles, you must allow them a lane to your right.
What to do in case of a bicycle accident?
Even after all the precautions, mishaps can happen when other drivers are negligent or careless. Bicycle accidents can be disastrous for cyclists because of the small size of the vehicle. Also, since the rider isn’t as protected as in a car, a collision with a larger vehicle is sure to cause serious injuries. In such a situation, a cyclist deserves compensation for the losses incurred because of the fault of another. A Bicycle Accident Lawyer can help the victim of a bicycle accident present his case in court. He will also look after all proceedings with the insurance company and help realize your claim.