Although the recent weather forecasts may make it feel as if we are still in the middle of winter, according to the calendar, spring has “officially” arrived. That means that warmer weather is only around the corner. Along with that warmer weather, comes warm weather activities, including bike riding.
Over the past several years, cycling has become much more popular, but this popularity has led to an alarming increase in bicycle accidents and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 1,000 bicyclists are killed each year in bicycle accidents and thousands more are injured.
Here are some tips from a North Carolina personal injury attorney to help reduce your risks of being involved in a bike accident:
If you ride a bicycle, you should always wear a helmet. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, cyclists who wear helmets reduce their risk of sustaining a head injury in a crash by 70 percent. This is critical, because, according to one study, there are more head injuries caused by bike accidents that require the victim to be hospitalized than from baseball, football, horseback riding, ice hockey, in-line skating, kick scooters, lacrosse, skateboarding, and snowboarding.
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It is also very important for cyclists to wear brightly colored clothing that will enable drivers to see you, especially at night. You should also outfit your bike with reflectors. If you are riding at night, make sure to use a headlight and tail light. If you do not have lights on your bike, you can purchase lights that you can attach to your clothing.
One of the most serious factors that contribute to bicycle accidents is that drivers become aggravated and aggressive with cyclists. A common scenario is a driver who is traveling down a narrow road with no breakdown or bike lanes, comes upon a cyclist and has to slow down. Because of oncoming traffic, the driver cannot pass the cyclist and is now forced to drive at a slower speed than they want. Far too often, road rage kicks in.
But vehicle drivers need to remember to take care around cyclists because if there is an accident, the injuries to the cyclist are often catastrophic because of the lack of protection they have from the impact of the vehicle.
Keep in mind that you should never honk your horn at a cyclist because this can startle them and cause a serious accident. When you pass a cyclist, give them several feet and pass quickly. And when you are getting out of your vehicle, always check to see if a bike is coming before you open your vehicle door. This is one of the most common ways cyclists are injured, in “dooring” accidents from a just-opened door.
Call a Carolinas Injury Attorney
Despite how safely you ride, you may still become the victim of a bicycle accident. If you have been injured, contact a skilled North Carolina bike accident attorney to find out what legal steps you can take against the person who is responsible for the crash. Our Carolina personal injury law firm will work diligently to get you the financial compensation you may be entitled to for your pain and loss.