National Bike Month is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and has been celebrated across the country since 1956. The third week in May is designated Bike to Work Week and the third Friday of May is Bike to Work Day.
As part of National Bike Month, the Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm is encouraging to give biking a try, but more important, strongly inspiring motorists to watch for bicycles and educating motorists on the dangers of distracted driving and its effect on cyclist injuries and fatalities.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines, all bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
In addition to your helmet, our friends at Folding Bike Zone recommend wearing/having all of the correct safety equipment:
- Horn/Bell – This is especially important for road cyclists as there may be pedestrians, other cyclists or motorbikes in the way at certain points in your journey; and it’s much easier to use your horn or bell to warn them than shouting at them, right?
- Lights+reflectors – Lights and reflectors are the main things which drivers will be able to see while they’re on the road. No matter where you are going make sure you have reflectors on the front and back of your bicycle and a headlight if you are riding at night
They went on to offer these easy ways to avoid accidents on your bicycle:
- Signal properly and clearly – If you’re preparing to turn a corner make sure you show all of the drivers around you by using the proper signals. If not how were they mean to know that you’re about to turn? If you don’t know the proper signals, a quick Google search could save your life.
- Cycle in a straight line – This one is pretty obvious, but don’t be going on the road and all over the place while cycling. Try to stay on the same path and nearby drivers will know where you’re heading and avoid that area.
- Stay in the right-hand lane – If the road is wide enough then make sure you are cycling in the right side of the lane, this is just a general cycling road rule. Also, try to stay in single file with other riders to make it easier for the driver to get past you. If the road isn’t wide enough then you’re allowed to cycle in the middle for increased visibility.
Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators and are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals and lane markings. Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic when cycling in the street.
Drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists. Be courteous and allow at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road, look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space, and yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.
Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, each year about two percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists. In a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a helmet. Moreover, a staggering 494,000 people were required to go to an emergency room as a result of bicycle-related injuries in 2013.
If you’ve been in a wreck on your bike with a motor vehicle, your first priority is to seek the medical attention you need. If you were hurt in an accident and have the opportunity to make a claim against the other driver, seeking medical treatment will help you win your claim.
After you’ve seen your doctor and started treatment for your injuries, next will be to determine who is at fault for the accident. Whomever caused the wreck is also responsible for paying for the damages and injuries the wreck caused.
Texas has a modified comparative fault rule, meaning that fault can be split up between the two parties; however, if a cyclist is hurt in an accident with a motor vehicle and the cyclist was partially at-fault, the cyclist can still recover compensation from the driver’s insurance company. The only stipulation is that the driver has to be more responsible for the accident.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a bicycle accident in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, please call us at the Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm for a free consultation on your potential case.