Top 5 tips for preventing bike accidents

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As the beautiful Washington sunshine begins to peek through the clouds this summer, many of us have a renewed desire to take our bikes out for a ride. In order to have as much fun as possible, it is important to understand and protect yourself from the risks of cycling in an urban environment. As a Seattle personal injury attorney and a King County car accident attorney, I have dealt with clients in bicycle accidents and understand the potential עורך דין התחדשות עירונית  we must face. In 2008, bicycle accidents claimed 716 lives nationwide. Bicycle injuries are also much more common, with over 52,000 people injured by bicycles in 2008. Although these numbers represent a small percentage of the total number of car-related accidents and deaths, it can be drastically reduced by taking certain precautions.

Riding a bike on the streets in crowded areas can be very difficult. Cities like Seattle,

 Tacoma, Bellevue, Spokane, Everett and many others have busy roads that can be difficult for a cyclist to navigate. During my time working with bike accident clients, I have compiled a list of my top five tips to reduce the risk of bike accidents.

1. Stay off the sidewalk: Bike lanes are great for both drivers and cyclists and should always be used whenever possible. However, if there is no bike lane, the legal and safer way to ride a bike is on the street. Sidewalks are full of pedestrians and make the presence of a cyclist almost non-existent for road users. Many potential accidents can happen this way. The most common would be a situation where you are approaching a crosswalk and a car makes a left turn on the other side of the street. In a sea of pedestrians, the bike can be invisible to the driver. Therefore, metal roofing a good choice a person making a left turn while riding a bicycle may not detect your speed and turn right into you. Crashes are split-second mistakes that become much easier when visibility is altered in some way. Stay on the street because that’s where oncoming traffic can see you.

2. Protect your brain! Although it may not be state law yet, many cities and counties require cyclists to wear helmets. To name a few, King County, Tacoma, Renton, Puyallup, Spokane, Lakewood and many others have this law. As a personal injury attorney, I have seen firsthand how different the medical consequences can be between someone wearing a helmet and someone not. Your parents didn’t lie to you when you were a child. Studies show that wearing a helmet reduces head injuries by 85%. A helmet can save your life and also save you the trouble of dealing with insurance that doesn’t cover all of your damages.

3. Don’t go against the flow: Driving against the traffic may feel the same or even more comfortable than driving with the traffic, but it is much more dangerous. When driving into traffic, reaction time is drastically reduced, as both you and the cars on the road are approaching each other at a fairly high speed. Riding with traffic means that cars will come up behind you, which gives them time to set you up if necessary. A common road accident that can happen when driving against traffic is when a car approaches the one you are on from a cross street. When they want to turn right onto your street, they look to the left because that’s where all the cars are coming from. You, on the other hand, would be going against the traffic, so you would be coming from the right side of this car. Since you haven’t seen you, it’s an accident waiting to happen and a car could turn right into you.

4. Be well-lit: If you don’t have a headlight and flashing backlight, don’t drive at night or go to the store and buy them right now. Without lights, you’re just asking to get into an accident. Not only are these lights a very smart idea for night driving, they are also required by law. You may have the best vision in the world and see at night like its day, but these lights are just as much for the road users as they are for you. As with driving, riding a bike at night עורך דין תמ”א. Make yourself as noticeable as possible, or just stay inside and wait for sunlight the next day.

None of the information contained herein is intended to constitute legal advice.

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About the Author: Mark Callaway

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