Cycling is a popular method of transportation in California. As cycling increases in popularity, there is a risk that bicycle accidents will also increase. Multiple Bay Area towns are working on infrastructure upgrades to reduce the number of bicycle accidents. However, there are also steps you can take to protect yourself while cycling in San Jose or the surrounding areas.
- Use a helmet. You should always wear a helmet while cycling. While a helmet may not prevent a concussion, it can prevent more serious types of brain injuries. Helmets are required for cyclists younger than 18 years old.
- Increase your visibility. Motorists may have a difficult time spotting you and other cyclists. You can wear bright colors (such as a bright helmet) to increase your visibility. Reflective tape can also work during the day and night. This tape bounces light off oncoming vehicles. There are also blinking lights that you can attach to your shoes, clothing or backpack. California law requires you to use certain lights and reflectors when riding at night.
- Maintain your bicycle. Bicycles can suffer from wear and tear. Proper bicycle maintenance, such as keeping your tires inflated and checking your brakes, can help you reduce the risk of a bicycle accident. You may also need to occasionally replace safety gear.
- Follow the rules of the road. For the most part, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. You should ride in the direction of traffic as far to the right as possible, unless in cases where you must “take the lane”. Be sure to come to a complete stop at stop signs. In addition, you should stick to bicycle lanes when they are available.
- Be predictable to motorists. You should look for ways to communicate your intentions to motorists. Make eye contact at intersections and use hand signals before turning. You may also wave at motorists to confirm they can see you.
- Avoid riding too close to doors. Dooring accidents occur when doors open in front of cyclists. You can reduce the chances of a dooring accident by leaving a door’s width between yourself and parked vehicles. Assume that all car doors could open in front of you with no warning.
- Scan ahead for hazards. It is important to remain attentive to any hazards, such as potholes or turning vehicles. According to the League of American Bicyclists, you should try to anticipate what other motorists, pedestrians or cyclists will do ahead of time.
Questions About Bicycle Accidents? Contact Our Bay Area Bicycle Accident Attorneys
A motorist could hit you even if you follow these safety tips. Impaired and distracted drivers are a constant threat to cyclists. Motorists who are driving too fast may cause accidents. Poor infrastructure and construction zones could also cause you to crash.
If you suspect the negligent actions of others caused your or a loved one’s bicycle accident, then we encourage you to contact our law firm for a free consultation. The Bay Area bicycle accident attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP have experience with bicycle accident injury cases.