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Cycle Safety as Summer Heats Up

by Kristopher L. Williams

As summer heats up and daylight creeps past 8 pm, cycling-enthusiasts, both new and veteran, will be traveling the streets, for both exercise and transportation. I’ve been cycling on a road-bike for about a year now, and I love it; however, I try to stay on paths with restrictions on motorized vehicles, but I also like to get out there and hit the streets that my taxes have helped pave. In a collision between a bicyclist and an automobile, the bicyclist will inevitably lose.

The California DMV published its four recommendations on how to avoid collisions when on the road, cycling:

  • Maintain control of your bicycle;
  • Protect yourself–reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet;
  • Be visible, alert, and communicate your intentions;
  • Always ride with traffic, not against it.

Maintaining Control of Your Bicycle:
This means ensuring that your bicycle is sized and adjusted to fit you properly. Also, never operate your bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol–it’s extremely dangerous and is also illegal (CVC §21200.5). Also, ensure that your tires, brakes, chain, and gears are all in good, working order.

Protecting Yourself
Falling to the ground from your bike at any speed can cause major injuries, especially to an unprotected head. A helmet should simply be thought of as part of the bike, even if you are just going a short distance. Sure, you’re careful, but a driver who isn’t so careful could come out of no where through no fault of your own. Not wearing a helmet is simply not worth it.

Be Visible, Alert, and Communicate Your Intentions:
Always follow the law by utilizing lights when biking at night. Wearing bright/reflective colors can help you be seen. Always be prepared to take evasive action by anticipating and assuming that motorists do not see you until you are certain they do.

Ride With the Flow of Traffic
When you ride with the flow of traffic, motorists pulling out from parking lots or turning onto your street-of-travel are more likely to spot you because you are riding in the place they are searching for potential conflicts.

Although adhering to these simple recommendations cannot eliminate completely the risks of suffering a cycling-injury, following them will help to reduce those risks. And, remember, if you or someone you know has been in an accident involving a bicycle and an automobile, call an attorney from our office right away to help protect any case/claim you might have–we’re here to help.

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