Now that the weather is warming up, people are dusting off their helmets and pulling out their bicycles for transportation as well as recreation. And just like drivers have to adjust to the first snow covered road, seasonal cyclists need a refresher of the rules of the road. In many states, including Utah, bicycles are considered vehicles and cyclists must follow all of the same traffic rules and regulations as motor vehicles. Read here for Utah state bicycle laws.
May is National Bike month and in addition to learning the rules of the road, there are several things you can do to avoid injuries before ever setting foot on the pedals. First and foremost is a properly fitted helmet. Even the most vigilant of cyclists can experience an accident and a helmet can be the difference between life and death.
Another simple tip is to include a basic check of tire pressure, brakes, chain function, and bicycle fit before riding. If you plan to ride at night, wear bright and reflective clothing and consider adding lights and reflectors to your bicycle.
There are several other routine checks and tips to keep you safe on the road. For a comprehensive checklist including the rules of the road, check out this post from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Sadly many bicycle accidents are actually the result of cyclist behavior: not wearing a helmet, not riding with the flow of traffic, swerving into traffic or running stop signs. To stay safe you must be alert, follow the traffic rules and be informed. Did you know there are actually specific ways to avoid being hit by a car when riding a bike?
Bicyclesafe.com has put together several common scenarios that cyclists encounter on the road everyday. The detailed explanations and illustrations help you learn to navigate these situations and avoid being hit by a car. One of the most succinct but important pieces of advice given is to ride as if you were invisible. Even though you may be considered a vehicle on the road, you are clearly not as visible as an automobile.
Hopefully these tips will help you to be smart and safe as you ride your bicycle but the reality is that over 500,000 people are injured in bicycle accidents each year in the United States. If you or someone you know is injured in a bicycle accident, contact us or read here for more information. We can help.