As cycling becomes more and more popular in North Carolina and the rest of the country, so too does the number of bike accidents that occur each year. According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 800 cyclists who are killed each year in vehicle accidents. Another 45,000 are seriously injured. Unfortunately, the rate of bike accidents keeps rising, with an average increase of 10 percent each year.
This increase has led safety advocates to seek out different methods and offer tips on how to keep cyclists safe. Many states have developed designated bike paths where cyclists can travel, as well as enacting laws to help prevent these types of accidents.
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A safety concept developed in the Netherlands has been working its way across Europe and has arrived in the United States. In fact, two states – Illinois and Massachusetts – have passed laws that now require the Dutch reach to be included in road safety manuals, instructing motorists how to exit their vehicle.
The Dutch reach is simple to do: As you exit your vehicle, open the door using the far-reaching hand instead of the one closest to the door handle. By using the opposite hand, both drivers and passengers are forced to turn their body and face behind them. This enables them to see if any cyclists are nearby and avoiding opening the car door right into the bike. “Dooring” accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries to cyclists.
Additional Safety Precautions to Avoid Bike Accident Injuries
There are also steps that cyclists can take to help prevent being injured in a bicycle accident. These include:
- Wearing a bicycle helmet: Tragically, more than half of all victims of fatal bike accidents were not wearing helmets. Having a helmet on can protect from head and brain injuries, saving a life.
- Wear reflective gear: Many bike accidents happen because the driver of the car did not see the cyclists. Wearing reflective gear and clothing and putting lights and reflectors on your bike can help ensure motorists will see you on the road, especially if you are riding in the evening or at night.
Obey traffic laws: Just like vehicle drivers, cyclists are required to obey all of North Carolina’s traffic laws. Don’t ignore traffic lights or signs and respect the right of way rules of the road.
Contact Our Firm Today
If you were injured in a bicycle or any other type of motor vehicle accident, it is critical not to delay contacting a North Carolina bicycle accident attorney from Shapiro & Appleton right away. North Carolina injury laws have strict rules regarding how long you have to file your personal injury claim. If the statute of limitations expires, you will be unable to collect financial damages for any medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, or any other losses you may be entitled to.