Cycling is a popular method of transportation in California. However, there are risks to being a cyclist. In the event of a collision with a vehicle, bicycles provide little protection for riders. This often leads to bicyclists suffering serious injuries. Our San Jose bicycle accident attorneys are avid cyclists, too. Below are some cycling safety tips you should follow to better protect yourself when cycling.
How Can You Prevent Injury While Cycling?
#1: Wear a Helmet
Wearing protective gear is of the utmost importance. You should always wear a helmet while cycling. While a helmet may not prevent a concussion, it can prevent more serious types of traumatic brain injuries. Under California law, cyclists under the age of 18 must wear helmets.
#2: Increase Your Visibility
Motorists may have a difficult time spotting a cyclist. You should wear bright colors (such as a bright helmet) to increase your visibility. Reflective gear and reflective tape also work well during the day and night. This tape bounces light off oncoming vehicles to make you more visible to others.
There are also blinking lights that you can attach to your shoes, clothing or backpack. California bike laws require certain lights and reflectors when riding at night. Vehicle Code Section 21201 lists the equipment required to operate a bicycle in California.
#3: Maintain Your Bicycle
Bicycles can suffer from wear and tear. Proper bicycle maintenance can help you reduce the risk of a bicycle accident. Bicycle maintenance may include, but is not limited to:
- Checking your tires for tread and inflation
- Checking your brakes
- Tightening any loose nuts or bolts
#4: Follow the Rules of the Road
For the most part, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers under California’s sharing the road laws. For example, you should ride in the direction of traffic as far to the right as possible, except in cases where you must “take the lane.” Also be sure to come to a complete stop at stop signs. In addition, you should stick to bicycle lanes when they are available.
#5: 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.
#6: Avoid Riding Near Vehicle Doors
Dooring accidents occur when car 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 and by assuming that all car doors could open in front of you without warning.
#7: Watch Out for Road Hazards
Bicyclists are more susceptible to road hazards than other motorists. Therefore, it is important to remain attentive to any road hazards. Common dangers may include:
- Slick conditions, such as puddles or spills
- Poor infrastructure
Contact a Bay Area Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Following these cycling safety tips can help you avoid a bicycle accident. However, motor vehicle negligence, such as speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving can still cause collisions. After a bike accident, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Our San Jose bicycle accident attorneys can answer any questions you may have regarding your accident and help you understand your legal options. Call now at (408) 956-6949 or fill out our online contact form to get started.