Bicycling: The Rules of the Road

Warmer weather means that many cyclists will be making a return to the road, whether they’re biking to work, training for a race, or simply biking for leisure. While both cyclists and drivers make mistakes that can lead to an accident, the cyclist is more likely to be severely or even fatally injured.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cyclists suffered 2 percent of traffic fatalities and 2 percent of crash-related injuries in the United States in 2012. The majority of these fatalities occurred between 4 p.m. and midnight in populated areas. 24% of the bicyclists who died in collisions had a blood alcohol concentration that was above the legal limit.

Common Bicycling Mistakes

urbanbicycle3There are a number of safety measures and precautions that cyclists can make to help them stay safe on the road. Cyclists should make themselves as visible as possible, wearing reflective or light clothing in evening hours and making sure that their bikes have appropriate lighting for their riding environment. Helmets can help prevent or lessen the severity of head injuries.

When riding your bike, you should always follow traffic laws. Stop and look before entering a road or intersection. Use appropriate hand signals when turning and avoid swerving in front of drivers. Ride in the same direction as traffic; do not approach vehicles head-on. Assume that drivers cannot see you.

Common Driver Mistakes

Automobile accidents involving bicycles can often be prevented with safe driving techniques. Automobile drivers should yield to cyclists just as they would to other drivers. Do not underestimate the bike’s speed. Stay aware of your surroundings and check the area before accelerating or backing up your vehicle.

When making a right turn at a red light, drivers should check to be sure that a cyclist isn’t approaching from behind. Obey the speed limit. When passing a cyclist, do not get too close; if possible, switch to another lane. Indiana state law requires that you do not overtake a cyclist without a minimum distance of at least three feet between your vehicle and the bicycle. If it’s possible to leave more space, do so.

Bicycle-Related Injuries

Many bicycle-related injuries affect the upper or lower body. Bicycle collisions often result in head, neck, abdomen, and chest injuries. Bruising, cuts, and abrasions often occur. Medical attention is sometimes needs to remove debris that becomes embedded due to abrasions.

Bicycling accidents may cause strains, dislocations, or fractures. Head injuries occur in many bicycle collisions and cause a vast majority of bicycle-related fatalities and long-term injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI). Organ damage can occur from impact with the bicycle’s handlebars.

Get Help for Bicycle-Related Injuries

If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury due to a bicycle accident, bicycle or helmet defects, or other bicycle-related injuries, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.