How safe is cycling?
Many cyclists say that it’s a relatively safe sport or hobby if you’re careful, while others say that an accident is only a matter of luck and time. Either way, it’s important to use whatever safety measures you can to protect yourself while you’re on your bike.
The Manhattan Beach police department offers several tips for a safe ride, based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
— Wear a helmet. While only cyclists under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet in California, the NHTSA recommends that everyone wear one properly fitted and secured on each and every ride.
— Make sure you’re on the right bike. A bike that’s fitted to your size and in good working order will reduce rider fatigue — which makes it less likely that you’ll make a mistake that could lead to an accident.
— Follow traffic laws. Riders in California are required to follow the same traffic laws as motor vehicles, including signalling turns and riding with traffic, not against it.
— Be predictable. Don’t weave in and out of traffic and don’t make sudden changes in direction. Try to make eye contact with drivers when possible so that you’re sure they see you.
— Increase your visibility. Use lights, reflectors and reflective clothing to make certain that you can be seen from the back, front and both sides.
— Share the road. Use bike lanes when possible, ride to the right on wide roads and use the middle of the lane like and automobile would do if the lane is narrow.
— Stay alert for roadway hazards including potholes, loose gravel and foreign objects laying in the road.
The reality is that the data on cyclist safety is unclear whether they’re mountain bikes or recreational ones — even though the dangers to each are very different.
If you’ve done your best to avoid an accident while riding your bike but still end up victimized by someone else’s negligence, consider talking to an attorney about the possibility of filing a lawsuit in order to recover for your damages.
Source: City of Manhattan Beach, “Safety Tips for Bicyclists,” accessed March 24, 2017