Bicycling is a popular way for people of all ages to have fun, exercise and travel. Unfortunately, it can also be a dangerous mode of transportation. In 2009 alone, more than 50,000 bike riders in the U.S. were injured and more than 600 were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
To prevent and reduce the number of injuries and deaths associated with bicycle accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA) have joined to promote the “Roll Model” campaign. This program targets adults and encourages them to set positive examples of safe bike riding. From obeying the rules of the road to always wearing a helmet, parents and other caregivers can show children and teens that safety is the top priority.
Sharing the Roadways Safely
Like motorcycles, bicycles are less visible to motorists leaving them vulnerable to serious injury. Additionally, though laws exist to protect bicycle riders, many drivers do not recognize bicyclist’s rights. Bicycle safety also extends to motorists to educate them in traffic safety laws and to encourage them to treat bicyclists with respect.
To keep bikers safe, drivers are urged to minimize distractions in their vehicles, maintain at least three feet of clearance when passing and look for bikers before opening car doors or pulling out from driveways and parking spaces.
Bike riders also have a role to play in safely sharing the roadways with vehicles. First, it is essential to wear a well-fitting helmet and brightly colored clothing and to outfit a bicycle with reflectors and approved lights to increase visibility. Also, observe the rules of the road, ride with the direction of traffic and yield to pedestrians. As a California bicycle rider, you have an absolute right to share the road and you also have the duty to obey traffic laws.
If a bicycle accident does occur and a bicyclist is injured, it is important to consult with a bicycle accident attorney experienced in representing bike riders. A bike friendly lawyer will help you to evaluate your legal options, determine if you should bring a claim and if appropriate, pursue accountability of the at-fault party.