Avoiding Bicycle-Auto Accidents
More and more people across the United States have rediscovered bicycling not only as a great way to get around in congested cities, but also as a sustainable form of exercise. Plus, with the Spring weather warming up, bicycling is a fun outdoor activity. But, this also means a higher chance of collision. The personal injury lawyers in D.C. at Wingfield, Ginsburg & Lipp, P.C. have helped many accident victims get compensation for their injuries, but one of the best ways to avoid injury is to educate yourself about the rules of the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations, bicycles on the roadway are legally considered to be vehicles and therefore have the same rights and responsibilities of motorized vehicles. Whether on a bicycle or in a car, everyone must be cautious while on the road, so here are some tips for all drivers and riders to help you protect yourself and others.
When driving around cyclists…
- 1. Check the bike lane. Be sure you know when someone is in the bike lane, especially if you are turning right or crossing the bike lane, look behind you. If someone is there, yield to them and allow them to cross safely.
- 2. Allow extra space. Try to make sure that you have at least three to four feet between you and a cyclist when you are passing them, just as you would when passing another car.
- 3. Slow down. ALWAYS reduce your speed when approaching and passing a cyclist. It lets drivers behind you know that there’s a reason to slow down ahead, especially on narrow roads where the people behind you can’t always see around you. Also, don’t follow a cyclist too closely, it’s very intimidating.
- 4. Be cautious in residential areas. Cyclists often ride through residential roads to stay out of heavy traffic. There are also more children biking in these areas. So be sure to drive the 25 m.p.h. speed limit and obey all stop signs.
- 5. Be polite. Don’t honk unless it’s an emergency. Try to make eye contact and wave to apologize if you make a mistake.
When cycling around cars…
- 1. Be visible. As the number one safety issue among cyclists, this is a given. Always use front and back lights, wear light colored or reflective gear, even on your helmet too.
- 2. Look over your left shoulder. As a driver you are probably used to yielding to the right, but as a cyclist you should learn to look over your left shoulder too. When you ride in a bike lane with traffic you left side is where the cars are going to be.
- 3. Always signal. Just as in a care, it’s important that you alert those sharing the road with you when you are changing lanes, turning, or stopping suddenly. Make your intentions clear and motorist will generally be able to give you more space and time.
- 4. Be polite. Acknowledge, with eye contact and a wave, your mistakes and your thanks. Be mindful of pedestrians too, don’t crowd them.
With these helpful tips, we hope you will cooperate in keeping the roads safe for riders and drivers alike. But sometimes accidents happen, regardless of the precautions we take. So if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, click here or call Wingfield, Ginsburg & Lipp, P.C. today at (800) 584-4165 to speak with an experienced and sensitive Maryland and Virginia personal injury attorney.
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