Navigating the road on a bicycle can be both exhilarating and perilous. Cyclists are smaller, lighter, and less protected against the environment than drivers in motor vehicles or large commercial trucks.
When riding a bicycle, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and avoid dangerous collisions. Whether you ride your bike on city streets or rural lanes, keep the following safety guidelines in mind. If you are ever involved in a bad accident, don’t hesitate to contact a Bakersfield personal injury lawyer.
#1: Ride with the Flow of Traffic
Contrary to some misconceptions, riding against traffic increases your risk of a collision, as drivers aren’t expecting to see cyclists coming towards them. Whenever you ride your bike near motor vehicles, always ride in the same direction as the flow of traffic.
#2: Obey All Traffic Laws
Just like motor vehicles, bicycles are subject to traffic laws. Stop at stop signs, obey traffic lights, and yield when required. By doing so, you make your intentions clear to other road users, reducing the risk of unpredictable car accident injuries in Bakersfield.
#3: Wear Protective Equipment
Regardless of your experience level, wearing a helmet is non-negotiable when riding a bike. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of head injuries in the event of an accident, helping prevent damaging and potentially fatal brain trauma. Consider investing in additional gear such as elbow and knee pads, especially if you’re navigating rough terrains or high-traffic areas.
#4: Watch for Parked Cars
One of the common hazards for bicyclists is getting doored, a type of accident that occurs when someone in a parked car suddenly opens their door. Always be cautious and give parked cars a wide berth when approaching them. Ride outside the door zone, and always remain vigilant of potential movement inside parked vehicles.
#5: Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
When riding a bike, maintain constant awareness of your surroundings. This means no headphones, cell phone use, or anything else that might distract you from the road. Listen for car engines, horns, and other sounds that can warn you about potential hazards and dangers—this awareness could potentially prevent a collision with a pedestrian or automobile.
#6: Look Before Making a Turn
Whether you’re turning onto a side street or changing lanes, always look over your shoulder first to check for oncoming vehicles. Signal your intentions to other road users using hand signals. Making eye contact with drivers can also ensure that they’ve seen you and understand your intentions.
#7: Make Yourself Visible
Many bicycle accidents happen because drivers claim not to see a cyclist. Riding during low light conditions, such as dawn, dusk, or night, necessitates proper lighting and reflective gear. A front white light, red rear light, and reflective clothing or stickers can make a substantial difference in visibility, reducing the risk of collisions.
#8: Be Wary of Road Conditions
Wet roads, gravel, or unexpected potholes can be treacherous for cyclists. When riding your bike, scan the road ahead of you for potential hazards or other dangerous road conditions. Always adjust your speed appropriately and avoid sudden maneuvers in these conditions.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident? Contact an Attorney
Even with the utmost caution, accidents can still happen. If you are injured by a negligent driver while riding your bike, you have the right to pursue a legal claim against the at-fault motorist and seek the compensation that you deserve.
A Bakersfield bicycle accident attorney can guide you through the process, advocating aggressively for your right to a fair settlement. As soon as possible after the accident, schedule a consultation to discuss your case and plan your next steps.