Many people have embraced cycling because of its environmental friendliness, convenience, and health benefits. With more people preferring to ride their bikes as a form of transportation, accidents where motorists hit bicyclists in car accidents, have become prevalent. As a bicyclist, you might need to invest more time into learning riding maneuvers and effective ways to protect yourself on the road.
Let’s dive into some practical ways to avoid getting hit by a car while riding your bike.
How to Prevent a Bicycle Accident
1. Always Observe Traffic Laws
The law considers bicycles to be vehicles; therefore, the traffic laws that apply to cars also apply to bikes. Although local ordinances vary from city to city or country to country, there are some standard rules every road user is expected to follow. These include riding with the traffic, using marked bike lanes if available, using highways or interstate routes, and obeying signs and traffic lights.
2. Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Maintaining focus while riding a bike is very important because it might save your life. Situational awareness means that your attention is always on the road, helping you make decisions based on what is happening around you. Eliminate distractions such as wearing headphones and using your phone while riding because you will not hear what’s happening, such as honking, bike bells, or people shouting, which would otherwise save you from an accident.
3. Beware of Car Doors
Some car users open their doors without looking to see if a cyclist is approaching. As a cyclist, you should always assume that any car door can open and hit you at anytime, even if the car is moving or parked; therefore, always maintain a safe distance. If you cannot keep a safe distance because of traffic, you should ride at walking speeds to allow you enough response time when something happens.
Signs to look out for include side-to-ride rocking motion, meaning a passenger may be getting out of the car; taxi vacancy lights, meaning it can stop at any time to pick up a passenger; and brake lights.
4. Always Use Bike Lanes if They Are Available
Most cities are now constructing bike lanes to suit this popular means of transport. Previously, if there were no bike lanes, a cyclist was forced to use the same roads as cars. Remember not to use sidewalks even if there are no bike lanes because they are meant for pedestrians.
If you know you will have to ride on a busy road where you cannot maintain your safety, it’s better to look for alternative routes, even if it might take longer. The beauty of bikes is that they can be used on any road.
5. Always Wear Reflective and Protective Gear
The most used excuse when a car hits a bicyclist is that they didn’t see them coming. To avoid this, ensure that your clothes and accessories are easy to see, such as reflectors and lights. Ensure that your bike has a bell that you can use it to alert other road users of your presence.
Always wear a helmet, even if you are an experienced cyclist. It will protect your head from impact in case you get into an accident.
6. Learn Evasive Maneuvers
Learn how to navigate through pedestrians in case you are on a crowded street. Some roads are not smooth, and you might need to know how to ride around potholes to avoid accidents. Some techniques you can learn include the track stand, quick turn, quick dodge, jumping, the emergency stop, and so on.
What to Do in Case of an Accident
If you get into an accident, call a personal injury lawyer who can help you file a lawsuit and get compensation. Consider looking for a lawyer experienced in bicycle accidents because they know the tricks used by insurance companies to get out of paying compensation.