Bicycle riders in Indiana share the road with many passenger cars, delivery vans, and large trucks. This traffic increases the risk of serious personal injury to the rider. To ensure a fun afternoon on a bicycle continues in safety, all riders should take a few simple precautions when they hit the road.
As Indiana personal injury attorneys, we believe visibility is of utmost importance for any bicycle rider. The ability to see potential dangers and to be seen by automobile and truck drivers can prevent serious injuries for the bike rider.
1. Wear a Helmet. We’ve blogged about the importance of wearing a bike helmet and the benefits to the rider. This is the number one precaution all riders should take when preparing to hit the roads.
2. Get a light. A cyclist should never ride at night without proper lighting for their bike. The rider should purchase a headlight and a rear light for the bike. These illuminations can make it possible for drivers of two-ton vehicles to see a single bicycle on a dark street. Even during day rides, lighting is essential equipment for safety.
3. Wear a reflective vest. A reflective vest can increase the visibility of a rider up to a ½ mile away, even in daylight conditions. The new technology of reflective safety vests can offer an inexpensive option of visibility for riders.
4. Use a mirror. The ability to see traffic that is coming from behind is critical to a rider’s safety. Knowing the surroundings in front and behind can inform the rider’s decisions when it comes to turns and traffic flow.
5. Choose streets that are wide, slow and lightly traveled whenever possible. Traveling back streets is a wise decision that will decrease a bicyclist’s risk of injury. If the flow of traffic speed is decreased, if there is more room for the bike and motorized traffic and if there are fewer cars, the cyclist can ride in relative safety, even if it does result in a few extra miles.
6. Signal Your Intent. We expect cars and trucks to use their turn signals to inform other traffic of their turns. Bike riders should practice the same habit. Using arm signals, the bike rider can signal automotive traffic of their expectation.
7. Look for opening car doors. When driving on the open road, bike riders must always be aware that parked cars might have occupants who might exit the vehicle. If they haven’t looked through their side view mirror, they will be unaware of oncoming bicyclists. It is the bike rider’s responsibility to look for upcoming dangers, including an unexpected sudden car door.
8. Watch for turning vehicles. Intersections offer the most dangerous situation for any bicycle rider. Many times, impatient drivers of cars and trucks assume the cyclist will offer the right of way and turn into the rider. An aware bicycle rider will look for automotive signals and flow of traffic to avoid collisions.