Bicycle Accident Prevention
May is National Bike Month and a great time to brush up on bike accident prevention. According to the Center For Disease Control, each year more than half a million people in the United States visit an emergency room due to a bike accident, and 700 people die from their bike accident injuries. How can you keep the roads safer for bike riders and prevent bike injuries and cyclist fatalities?
- Wear a helmet. This is probably the most common bike injury prevention tip, and there’s a reason for it: over ninety percent of those killed in bike accidents were not wearing helmets. It is the single best way to protect yourself while cycling and prevent traumatic brain injuries if you are hit by a car or truck while biking.
- Use hand signals. If you are riding in traffic, you must obey the rules of the road. This includes the use of signals. Let the drivers around you know when you are turning and when you are slowing down so that they do not have to guess your next move.
- Along the same lines, be predictable. Don’t weave in and out of park cars, don’t turn suddenly, and don’t swerve without warning.
- Ride with traffic. A head-on bicycle accident will result in much more serious injuries than if you are hit from behind. It’s also against the law to ride against traffic on a bike.
- If you are driving a car, be aware of bikes in the road. It sounds like an overly simple rule, but many of the bikers that are hurt and killed on our streets are the victims of simple unawareness or carelessness: the drivers were simply not paying attention and did not see the biker. Be sure to scan the roads, sidewalks, and intersections for driving hazards such as cyclists periodically when driving.
- If you are a driving a car, give bikers enough room. Cyclists should be given at least three feet of room when you are passing them. If you cannot give them that much room, wait for a safer opportunity to pass. Being in a rush is no good reason to narrowly pass a cyclist and potentially cause a bicycle accident.