Bicycle season is here, and wipeouts are all but inevitable. As reported by People Powered Movement (PPM), there were 45,000 bicycle accidents reported in the U.S. in a recent year. Biking is an eco-friendly, healthy form of transportation that is becoming increasingly popular among active, health-minded people. Unfortunately, the more bike trips you take, the higher your risk for a crash.
After a bicycle accident with injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, call The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., at (719) 401-0585 for legal assistance from an experienced Colorado Springs bicycle accident lawyer.
What Should You Do Before You Hit the Trail?
As with any mode of transportation, taking certain precautions can help keep you safer on a bike trip. Run down the following bike safety checklist before you set out on a trip:
- Ride a bicycle that fits your body.
- Wear a proper helmet that fits.
- Make sure your rear red reflectors are visible from 500 feet.
- Place a yellow or white reflector that is visible from 200 feet on each pedal.
- Have a headlight that is visible from 300 feet.
- Mount reflectors on the wheels.
- Wear reflective and brightly-colored clothing.
- Make sure your bike has a horn, bell, or whistle.
- Carry a first-aid kit with you.
- Check tires and brakes before every ride.
Safety Tips for Riding in Traffic
Bicyclists obey the same traffic rules as motorists. Your greatest safety lies in riding with the flow of traffic, not against it. Keep in mind the following bicycling rules of the road for a safer trip:
- Avoid major highways and roads. If possible, choose roads with bike lanes or trails.
- Do not ride on sidewalks.
- Ride at a safe speed.
- Maintain a safe distance from the car ahead of you.
- Do not run yellow lights – this is particularly risky for a cyclist.
- Ride in single file, if riding with other cyclists.
- Use proper hand signals before turning or changing lanes.
- Avoid riding too close to the curb.
- Use horn, bell, or whistle as needed.
- Announce your presence loudly when overtaking pedestrians on bike trails.
Stay Alert to Hazards on the Road for Bicyclists
No matter how diligently you follow bicyclist safety rules, motorists and road hazards can still cause a crash. It is a sad fact that many bicycle accidents are caused by negligent or inattentive drivers who fail to see or register the presence of the bicycle in the roadway. Examples of this type of negligence include:
- A driver opening a car door directly into the path of an oncoming bike (“dooring”).
- A driver making a right turn from the left side of a bicyclist.
- A car turning left at an intersection, cutting off an oncoming bicycle.
- A driver hitting a bicyclist while pulling out of a parking space, alley, or driveway.
In addition to the risks caused by negligent drivers, Colorado cyclists are also vulnerable to specific road hazards – which would not be a significant risk for motorists in more substantial, stable, four-wheeled motor vehicles. These hazards include:
- Potholes or puddles in the roadway
- Oil, sand, and gravel
- Sewer grates
- Manhole covers
- Litter, debris, or broken glass
- Pedestrians, particularly children
- Cats, dogs, and other animals that dart out in front of the bicycle
Get Legal Help After an Accident with Injuries
Sadly, many bicycle accidents are caused by the negligence of others, including motor vehicle drivers who are distracted by cell phones, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or simply not paying attention to what is happening on the road. If you were hurt in a Colorado bicycle crash that was someone else’s fault, your best course of action is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Timothy Bussey of The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., is an experienced Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer with more than two decades of experience. Call us today for the legal help you need after a serious Colorado bicycle accident.