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How to Avoid a Bicycle Accident

blue bike helmet on road

How to Avoid a Bicycle Accident

Riding a bicycle is a great way to stay fit and is an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. But it does come with some risks. Every year, there’s about 45,000 reported accidents in the US. According to the Georgia Department of Highway Safety, counties including Fulton, DeKalb, and Cobb have the most bicycle-related accidents. Nearly three-quarters of all bicyclist deaths happen in urban areas.

When a bicycle is in an accident with a motor vehicle, the bicyclist almost always loses. Bikes just don’t provide enough protection against the impact of larger, heavier vehicles. In today’s blog, we’re sharing some tips on how bicyclists can stay safe on the road and avoid a bicycle accident.

Avoiding a Bicycle Accident: Potential Injuries

There are two different types of crashes: falls and collisions with other vehicles. When a cyclist hits a motor vehicle, they do not have safety features like seatbelts, steel frames, or airbags. The injuries can be quite serious.

Some of the most common injuries suffered by bicyclists include road rash, broken bones, internal organ injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries. The key ways to prevent these injuries are for the bicyclist to be prepared as well as to ride predictably and defensively.

Avoiding a Bicycle Accident: Before Your Bike Ride

Before you head out, you need to make sure that you’ve planned appropriately and are using the correct equipment. You should also be aware of the weather and traffic conditions. Here’s some safety tips that will help you avoid a crash.

  • Plan your route beforehand and choose lanes with less traffic, if possible
  • Make sure that your bike is the right size for your build and frame
  • Double-check the brakes to ensure they’re working correctly
  • Wear protective equipment such as a helmet, bright clothing, or reflective gear
  • Your bike should have the appropriate headlight, reflectors, and mirrors
  • Keep both hands on the handlebars, unless you are signaling
  • Make sure your clothing is not going to get caught in the bike chain
  • Do not hang items off of the handlebar or seat; store them in a backpack or a storage container on the back of the bike
  • Do not attempt to ride with more than one person on the bicycle

Avoiding a Bicycle Accident: Follow the Rules of the Road

Bicyclists should follow the same Georgia traffic laws as other drivers. When a cyclist is following the rules, they are riding predictably. Surrounding drivers will get a sense of the cyclist and be better prepared to avoid a collision. Here’s some advice for bicyclists to stay safe in traffic:

  • Ride in the same direction as the traffic
  • Don’t ride too fast; base your speed on the road conditions and volume of traffic
  • Use hand signals and look over your shoulder before turning or changing lanes
  • Be extra careful when crossing intersections
  • Obey street signs and road markings
  • Use bike lanes, if possible
  • Avoid riding on sidewalks, if possible
  • Watch for pedestrians; announce your presence or use a bell

In 2021, Georgia introduced new laws concerning bicycle safety. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-56, drivers can change lanes when passing a bicycle, including passing a double yellow line (if they can safely do so). If the driver cannot safely pass the bike, they must slow down to 25 miles per hour or 10 miles below the posted speed limit, whichever amount is greater. Once they’ve slowed down, they can pass the bicyclist, but only if there’s at least three feet of clearance between the vehicle and the bicycle. A driver cannot pass a bicycle in a blind turn, on a blind hill, or into oncoming traffic.

Avoiding a Bicycle Accident: Drive Alert and Defensively

When you’re focused on the road and paying attention to all the traffic around you, you might be able to notice potential dangers. Being able to anticipate what other drivers or pedestrians may do can help you avoid a serious accident. Here’s some advice for defensive driving:

  • If you can avoid it, do not ride in bad weather
  • Choose the safest lane position
  • Do not assume that the drivers around you can see or have noticed you
  • Look ahead for potential hazards like potholes, grates, train tracks, or road debris
  • Don’t wear earphones while you’re on your bike
  • Do not use your phone or anything else that may distract you while you’re on your bike
  • Maintain a safe distance from parked cars; drivers may open their car doors without looking
  • Watch for vehicles pulling out of parking lots and driveways
  • Be extra careful when passing a vehicle that has a blind spot

Have Additional Questions? Contact Burrow & Associates

Being prepared, following the rules of the road, and staying alert can help avoid collisions with other vehicles. But if you have been injured in a bicycle accident, please reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys. We can help secure the compensation you deserve and make sure you’re back on the road to recovery. You can call (678) 323-2394 or use our online contact form. Burrow & Associates has offices in Athens, Conyers, Duluth, Gainesville, Kennesaw, and Morrow and we offer free initial consultations.

CategoryPersonal Injury
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