As every New Yorker knows, when a car hits a bicycle, it’s the bicyclist who is much more likely to die or be severely injured in the crash. In fact, in 2018, a reported 857 bicyclists died in traffic crashes in America.
A large number of these accidents can be avoided if car drivers and bicyclists properly follow the rules of sharing the road and keep a cautious eye out for one another. Bicycles are considered by law to be vehicles on the roadway, and their operators have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists do.
Here’s some safety advice bicyclists need to remember:
- What to wear — Use a helmet and ensure that its straps are adjusted and it fits you properly. Put on bright and reflective clothing. Tie and tuck your shoelaces and pant legs.
- What to ride — Ride a bike that fits you because too big a bicycle is too hard to control. Make sure the bike’s brakes work effectively. Attach a headlight, taillight and reflectors to the bike.
- How to ride — Go in the same direction as traffic. Follow traffic signs, just like a car should. Remember to signal with your hands and look over your shoulder when turning or changing lanes.
- Ride carefully — Assume other drivers don’t see you. Ride predictably to give cars the best chance to guess what you’ll do. Watch out for hazards that could cause you to fall, such as rocks, sewer grates and railroad tracks. Don’t use your phone, listen to music or anything else that could distract you.
- Where and when — Use bike lanes and bike paths away from motor traffic if possible. Minimize biking on sidewalks. Avoid biking during likely crash hours, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
It’s vital that you remember to ride defensively. Stay alert and focus on the task at hand. Try to anticipate the actions of other drivers. The earlier you can recognize a potential problem, the sooner you can act to avoid a crash.
If you or a loved one are injured in a bicycle-auto crash, you may have a credible case to sue for financial compensation. It’s important that you understand your legal options and speak to an experienced and compassionate New York attorney.