Bicycling is a fun, healthy and environmentally friendly activity, but it can also be dangerous. South Carolina is one of the most dangerous states for bicyclists, with 3.21 bike accident fatalities per million people in 2011. Ride more safely by following these seven tips for sharing the road with motor vehicles.
- Be conspicuous.
Wear fluorescent colors whenever you go for a ride. Put reflectors and flashing lights on the front and rear of your bike.
- Ride like you’re invisible.
Although you want to make yourself as visible as possible, you can never be sure that nearby drivers will notice you. Never assume that a driver can see you and ride in such a way that you won’t get hurt even if they don’t.
- Choose your route carefully.
Don’t bike on the same route you would drive. Ride on roads with the lightest and slowest traffic possible, or on roads with wide shoulders.
- Be predictable.
Surprising a driver is one of the worst things a cyclist can do. Ride in a straight line as much as possible, even when passing a gap between parked cars. Don’t swerve at the last second to avoid debris or potholes in the road. Instead, move over early and gradually to avoid them. Always use turn signals.
- Pay attention.
As a cyclist, you need to take extra care on the road. Don’t wear earbuds while biking. Being able to hear your surroundings could very well prevent a dangerous accident. Look over your shoulder before changing lanes or passing to make sure your way is clear and drivers behind you can see your movement.
- Ride in the center of the lane when appropriate.
You may be used to hugging the right curb when riding but, in many situations, it is safer to ride in the center of the lane. For example, if cars are passing you too closely, riding to the left will discourage any unsafe passing. If you’re on a street with parked cars, riding to the left will keep you from getting doored. Examine the roadway you’re on and use your judgement to decide whether to ride to the right or in the center.
Most importantly, ride in the center of the lane when approaching an intersection. Cars turning at the intersection are more likely to see you if you stay in the center, making them less likely to cut you off or hit you. You should also avoid pulling up alongside a stopped car at an intersection or letting a car pull up beside you, which can lead to a right hook accident. The center of the lane is almost always the safest place to be when approaching an intersection.
- Wear a helmet.
Even if you do everything right, there’s always a chance of getting in an accident. Wearing a helmet will help to keep you alive if something goes wrong.
We Advocate for Bicycle Accident Victims
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, the bicycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson can help you get compensation for your injuries. Visit our page on hiring a personal injury attorney for bicycle accidents for more information. You can also contact us online for a free case evaluation or call us at: