Many Bucks County, Pennsylvania roads are picturesque and inviting for motorists and cyclists alike. However, these same beautiful roadways are often narrow and lack shoulders, which can make riding difficult and dangerous. Before your next ride, make sure to check out these bicycle safety tips to keep yourself and your family safe.
General Safety Tips for Bicyclists
While motorists should always keep an eye out for all other motorists — cyclists included — that is not always the case. Your safety is your own responsibility. Make sure you follow the following tips to keep all road users safe.
- Be aware of and obey all local traffic laws and cycling rules. Observe and obey all traffic signs.
- Do not weave between cars to get around traffic or hazards.
- Always wear protective gear, such as a helmet, knee and shin guards, and arm guards to minimize impact in the event of an accident. Be sure your helmet fits correctly and meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
- Ride as far to the right of the road as possible, with the flow of traffic. Do not ride against traffic.
- Use the pedestrian rule before crossing a street — look left, right, and then left again before proceeding through an intersection.
- Make your presence known, especially to right-turning motorists who may not see you.
- Make eye contact with drivers when possible.
- Wear bright colored clothing at all times. Use reflectors or lights on the front and back of your bike so drivers can see you at night. It is not only smart; it is the law.
- Keep your bicycle in good mechanical condition and keep tires adequately inflated.
- Like motorists, cyclists should remain distraction-free and refrain from cell phone use when riding.
Keeping Children Safe
Unfortunately, children are involved in far too many bicycle accidents each year. Before your child hops on her bike, make sure you have discussed the following safety tips with her.
- Always wear as much protective gear as possible (helmet, kneepads, shin guards, etc.).
- Be alert for things that could cause you to lose control, such as rocks or potholes.
- Make sure an adult knows where you are riding to at all times; have one with you if possible.
- Always make sure your bicycle is working properly before taking it out on the road. It is especially important to check your brakes.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road.
- Never use your cell phone or music player when biking. If you need to call Mom or Dad, make sure that you have stopped in a safe place.
- Make sure your child rides on the sidewalk until she is “street ready.” Let her know that she must always yield to pedestrians and ring her bell or alert a pedestrian that she is passing.
- Make sure your children know which hand signals indicate turning left or right and which indicate stopping. Have them show you that they can complete the signals and still control their bike. It is a good idea for you to learn the hand signals as well.
- Tell your child that it is never okay for someone ride on her handlebars.
Summer Bicycling Tips
Summer weather encourages outdoor activities like barbecues, outdoor concerts, and bike rides. However, summer also brings additional dangers to bicycle riding that cyclists should be aware of.
- Dehydration can be fatal. Stay hydrated on hot summer days by bringing along a bottle of water.
- If you begin to feel exhausted or overheated, take a break from cycling and cool off.
- Keep a bike lock with you if your destination does not have a safe place to store your bike.
Winter Bicycling Tips
Though cycling is less common in the winter months, some people ride regardless of the weather. With the frequent snowfall and icy roads in Pennsylvania, winter bicyclists should be aware of several potential dangers and follow the following to stay safe.
- Travel on main roads after snowfall whenever possible, as they are salted and/or plowed first after a snowstorm.
- Brake only with the rear wheel when stopping to avoid spinouts on icy roads.
- Ride defensively; weather conditions may cause excessive distractions for motorists.
- Keep your bicycle cold. A room temperature bike in freezing temperatures can cause ice to form on the bicycle more easily.
- Get studded, fat tires for increased grip on snowy paths.
- Wear gloves with grip for better control of your bicycle.
Safety Tips for Sharing the Road
While bicyclists should always be looking out for their own safety, motorists have a duty to ensure the safety of others around them. To uphold this duty, motorists should:
- Wait until it is safe to pass a bicycle; do not tailgate cyclists and do not speed when passing a cyclist.
- Always stop before turning. When making right turns, be aware that a cyclist may continue straight through the intersection.
- Yield to an oncoming bicycle when making a left turn.
- Check for cyclists before opening a car door on the street. Do not leave your door open for longer than necessary.
- React to cyclist hand signals that indicate their intent to turn left or right.
- Refrain from honking at cyclists; it may startle them and cause them to swerve into traffic.
- Check side-view mirrors while driving for cyclists or pedestrians.
- Always refrain from distractions, such as cell phone use while driving.
What should I do in the event of a bicycle-related accident?
If you or a loved one has sustained serious or fatal injuries in a Bucks Philadelphia bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, discuss your case with a Bucks County bicycle accident attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve.
For help with the claims process, contact Cordisco & Saile LLC: 215-642-2335. We can help with every aspect of the claims process, from filing a claim and gathering evidence to managing communication with adjusters and negotiating settlements.