Bicycle Accident Prevention Tips

Bicycling is an enjoyable and beneficial activity for people of all ages. It has too many health benefits to ignore, and in a city like Denver, bicyclists resolve too many traffic congestion problems to ignore. However, it is important for bicyclists to keep certain key tips in their mind while riding. Both cyclists and drivers can make mistakes that lead to accidents, however it’s important to remember that in any accident involving you and motorists, it is you who is at a much higher risk of being seriously or fatally injured.

How can you safely travel by bike through the city of Denver? Ride a bicycle that is comfortable and the right fit for you. To understand whether your bicycle is the right fit for you, straddle the bicycle. The distance between you and the bicycle should not be more than a couple of inches.

Wear a bicycle helmet while riding. Research has shown that almost 90% of bicycle accident fatalities are the result of not wearing a helmet. Wear a helmet which is approved by the Department Of Transportation. The helmet can significantly reduce your risk of suffering a head injury in an accident. How do you know you have a helmet that fits? The helmet should be snug on your head and cover the majority of your forehead before you make any adjustments. To test the fit, place the helmet on your head and before you secure your chin straps, shake your head from side to side. If there is a lot of movement as you shake your head, the helmet is way too loose. Make an effort to tighten the helmet using safety pads or the ring at the base in the back. However if possible, it’s always safer to just get a smaller helmet.

Remember that all road safety laws also apply to you. Obey traffic signs and signals, and avoid riding in opposing direction of traffic. Be sure to signal your intentions so that drivers can predict your next movement. For example, it’s important to use hand signals that indicate which direction you are about to turn.

Avoid riding on sidewalks. Sidewalks are only for walking, and sidewalk riding can actually increase your risk of being involved in an accident with a pedestrian. When riding on the roads, be on the lookout for any potholes, cracks or physical objects in your path that may cause to fall off your bike or swerve into traffic.

Make it a habit to stop at driveways and intersections even if there are no visible cars coming. You may not see a car that is quickly approaching or beginning to back out of a driveway, so it’s best to always stop and wait. Plus, it’s very easy to confuse a parked car with one that is beginning to back out. Even if a car in a driveway appears to be immobile, it may be leaving the driveway in slow motion.

Don’t ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Being impaired can affect your balance, judgment and coordination, three things that are definitely needed in order to stay safe on a bike.

Remember, the same rules apply to bikers as they do to motorists when it comes to distracted driving. Keep the cell phones and other devices away while you’re riding a bike, and resist temptation to look around you so you can focus on the road ahead. If you’re bicycling with a buddy, it’s ok to keep a conversation going, as long as you keep your eyes on the road. Bicyclists should keep both hands on the handlebars at all times. Riding a bike with only one hand inhibits your ability to steer when faced with a sudden obstacle, like an oncoming car, biker or pedestrian, object in the road, or pothole.

Avoid riding a bike at night as much as possible. If you have to ride at night however, wear fluorescent clothing, or stick reflective tape on the bicycle and your clothes.

A bicyclist is at a high risk of injuries in an accident, and those accidents are much more likely to occur at nighttime. In fact, it is estimated that almost half of bicyclists’ deaths occur between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight. If you’re riding at night, keep this in mind and remember it is best to take strong precautions to protect yourself.

One way to reduce the risk of accidents when you’re riding at night is to increase visibility. How do you do that when you are riding at night? Use reflectors. Reflectors illuminate a bicyclist, and make you much more visible to motorists. You can use your reflectors on your wheels and pedals, and that ensures that the back as well as the side of the bicycle is visible to motorists.

You can also use reflective tape, and paste it on your bicycle fenders and even the bicycle frame. For additional reflective effect, make sure that you stick some tape on your backpack to illuminate you.

Make sure that the bicycle has headlights with a strong beam that illuminates your path for at least several feet. Some bicycle experts recommend that your bicycle light illuminate the path ahead of you for up to 50 feet even when you’re cycling at a speed of 15 mph.

Apart from reflectors and lights, it is also important to wear bright, vibrant colors that make you even more visible to motorists. Invest in cycling gear that comes with built-in reflectors.

Map out your route in advance to avoid getting lost on a dark street. Stay on well-illuminated roads as much as possible, and always bring a cell phone with you in your pocket or bag to call for help if you do get lost.

For help filing a bicycle accident claim, speak to a bicycle accident attorney in Denver. In a typical accident, you are likely to suffer serious injuries. A bicycle accident attorney in Denver can advise you about your legal options after an accident.

By: Dallas Norton

Dallas Norton, the founding partner of Norton & Bowers, has practiced law with a focus on personal injury since 1992. Mr. Norton has extensive Colorado roots including grade school in Arvada and high school in Denver. He earned his J.D. from Brigham Young University Law School in 1991. When working on behalf of clients, Mr. Norton draws upon his extensive background in psychology and human resources.