Bicycles are popular for leisure, exercise, and as an ecologically friendly commuting alternative. However, biking on major roads can be dangerous so it is always best to know the latest safety information for bicycling in California. In 2019, stay safer while bicycling by following some easy tips and best practices.
Keep to the Right
Bicyclists may take the lane when necessary, such as to move out of a turn-only lane or to execute a left-hand turn at an upcoming intersection. Aside from these instances, bicyclists should keep to the right whenever possible. Most major roads have a bike lane, but if this makes you uncomfortable due to a fear of hitting a suddenly opened parked vehicle door, you can remain in the main lane legally.
Make Yourself Noticeable
California law requires the use of reflectors and a headlight when bicycling at night, but you can take steps to make yourself more visible during daylight hours, too. Wear bright clothing and avoid lingering in passing drivers’ blind spots. At night, attach reflectors to each wheel of your bicycle on both sides and wear reflective clothing or attach reflective tape to your biking outfit.
Use Hand Signals
Since bicycles do not have turn signals or brake lights, help nearby drivers anticipate your movements by using hand signals for turns and braking. Without a brake light a trailing driver may not notice your bicycle slowing. Extend your arm with the palm facing behind you down to one side to designate slowing down and extend your arm straight out to indicate you intend to turn to the left or right.
Know the California Vehicle Code
California allows bicyclists the same rights and expects the same responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. As such, the California Vehicle Code includes rules for the operation of bicycles that all cyclists should know. Make sure you understand these provisions and investigate the local ordinances that apply in your area.
Wear a Helmet
The California Vehicle Code may state that bicycle helmets are mandatory only for riders under 18, but the reality is that it is always safer for riders of all ages to wear appropriately-fitting helmets at all times while cycling in California. Wearing a helmet dramatically reduces the risk of a fatal head injury in the event of an accident.
Always Ride With the Traffic
Do not assume that other drivers will see you better if you keep to the left and ride opposing oncoming traffic; they may be able to spot you more easily but drivers attempting to make right-hand turns on to your street probably will not expect to see you coming directly in their path.
Keep Emergency Items With You
Make sure you have a way to carry your ID and cell phone while biking. This will be invaluable if you get into an accident and need to call for help or if an accident renders you unconscious and you need to rely on emergency responders to identify you and notify your family of the incident.
Know Your Options After an Accident
These are just a few simple ways to stay safer while bicycling in California in 2019. A bicycle accident can cause severe injuries like bone fractures, spinal cord damage, brain damage, and internal organ injuries.
The best way to prevent these accidents is always by taking precautions and staying vigilant while riding. Situational awareness can help prevent accidents, and a personal injury attorney can help an injured cyclist recover compensation for his or her damages when accidents happen.
To succeed with a bike accident lawsuit the plaintiff’s attorney will need to prove the defendant caused the accident through negligence, such as by speeding, running a red light, or engaging in aggressive driving. Handling these cases can be difficult but a bicycle accident attorney can help an injured cyclist navigate a bicycle accident claim and secure compensation for any damages.