Many people wrongfully assume that as long as they’re wearing a helmet while biking – which is indeed a critical part of bike safety – they’re protected on the road. However, avoiding bicycle accidents often requires a more proactive approach than just wearing a helmet alone. Here are three things you can do to protect yourself while riding your bike.
1. Choose Less Trafficked Areas
Sometimes, riding in traffic—in particular for those who are biking for commuting purposes—is unavoidable. Often, though, riding in traffic is a choice. While taking the most direct route can be tempting for time’s sake, choosing a less trafficked area is the safer choice.
When riding, seek out neighborhood streets, areas with protected bike lanes, or separate bike paths to get to your destination, and avoid road riding in congested areas whenever possible.
2. Make Sure Vehicle Drivers Can See You
As important as choosing less trafficked areas is ensuring that you’re visible to other drivers on the road. To do so, wear bright or/and reflective clothing, and make sure your bike is equipped with functioning front and rear lights. For added visibility, choose lights that flash or blink to grab driver attention.
What’s more, always make eye contact with drivers when possible, or wave to get attention. Taking a minute to attract attention is especially important when entering roundabouts or coming out of driveways. Bicyclists can expect motorist negligence to be high when they are distracted, such as when people just leave the house.
3. Follow Bike Laws
To reduce your risk of being involved in a bike crash, make sure always to follow Pennsylvania’s laws for cyclists.
- Use hand signals when appropriate
- Ride with traffic rather than against it
- Make complete stops at traffic lights and stop signs
- Yield to other vehicles when required
- Skip the freeways
- Ride to the right-hand side of the road unless passing
- Don’t ride more than two abreast on roads with vehicles
Know Your Rights after an Accident
Part of protecting yourself is also knowing your legal rights in the event that you are involved in an accident, and how filing a claim for damages works. In Pennsylvania, bicyclists are automatically considered full tort, meaning you have the right to seek civil damages for pain and suffering following an accident.
If you have questions about how your insurance coverage works in a bike crash, read our blog about bike insurance. For legal help in recovering damages or filing a claim or a lawsuit, call our Cordisco & Saile LLC offices at 215-642-2335 now!