If you are an avid bicyclist, you were likely eager to get your bicycle out of storage after the harsh winter. National Bicycle Safety Month in May reminded bicycle riders and motorists in Oklahoma of the need to share the road effectively. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the numbers of fatal bicycle accidents are on the rise.
A safety advocate for the Auto Club Group said a survey indicated that the primary concern of most cyclists is a car striking them, followed by a fear of distracted drivers. She said the warmer weather would bring more cyclists onto the roads, and she urged both bicycle riders and motorists to demonstrate courtesy and care.
Tips for motorists
Both motorists and bicyclists want to get to their destinations safely. The following safety tips for drivers might prevent accidents involving bicycles:
- Distractions: Avoid distractions, and it will be easier to stay alert.
- Check blind spots: Check for bicycles when entering or changing lanes, and pay particular attention to blind spots.
- Yield: Make a point of yielding for bicyclists when turning.
- Pass with care: Reduce speed and allow about three feet of clearance when passing bicycle riders.
- Door opening: Never open a car door without first checking for oncoming bicyclists.
- Severe weather: Take extra care and allow additional space for cyclists in adverse weather conditions.
- Hold off on honking: The sudden honking of a car horn can cause a bicyclist to swerve off the roadway or into traffic — with devastating consequences.
- Look out for children: You can never predict the movements of young children on bicycles, so it is best to expect the unexpected when there are children riding bikes near or on the roadway.
Tips for bicyclists
If you ride your bicycle, you must obey the same rules as all other road users. Keep in mind that your mode of transport is much smaller than automobiles, and it is much easier for you to see a car than for a motorist to see a bicycle. The following precautions might help you to avoid an accident:
- Respect: You can only expect vehicle operators to respect you if you respect them.
- Avoid sidewalk riding: Ride on shared cycle pathways or the road and leave the sidewalks for pedestrians.
- Signal your intentions: If you indicate your intention to turn, motorists will not be caught off guard — especially if you give them fair warning.
- Direction: Always ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic, and obey the same rules of the road.
- Protect yourself: Never ride without a helmet, and wear bright, reflective colors to increase visibility.
- Lights: Make sure you have both head lights and tail lights working when you ride after dark.
Your options in case of an accident
Unfortunately, despite all the precautions you take, the negligence of other road users can cause accidents. The size of automobiles and the lack of protection will always leave you most vulnerable, and injuries could be life-changing. You could pursue financial relief through the Oklahoma civil justice system, but it will not be easy. However, you need not tackle a personal injury lawsuit on your own because the skills of an experienced attorney are available to help you recover financial and emotional damages.