It is springtime, and more people are starting to take their bikes out of the garage, either to pedal to work, to go on a ride with their kids, or just to get out and see the sunshine. While bicycling is a fun and environmentally friendly activity, it can also be a dangerous one if you do not take the proper precautions to ensure that you are safe on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which tracks such statistics, reports that the number of bicyclists on the road spiked sharply between 2000 and 2012, from 488,000 to 786,000 bicyclists. With more bicycles on the road, there are more opportunities for bicyclists to get hurt, especially in areas without bike paths or proper lighting at night. Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys recommends that you and your children wear helmets while riding a bicycle, and have your bicycles equipped with headlights and taillights. The majority of bicycle fatalities happen after 4 p.m., so while it is always important to be aware of your safety, it is especially important at night and at dusk when cars are less likely to be able to see you. While helmet use is not legally required in some areas, if you choose to bicycle without wearing a helmet, you are placing yourself at serious risk. For over 40 years, our firm has been representing people injured in bicycle accidents.
There is a common misconception that cars are always at fault in car vs. bicycle collisions. While you can never be held responsible for someone else’s actions, there are things you can do as a bicyclist to make yourself more safe. According to the NHTSA, 24% of bicyclists killed in 2012 were drunk. Riding a bicycle drunk can cause you serious injuries, or could cost you your life. Even if you are not injured, riding a bike while impaired puts you at risk for a DUI conviction. Another prominent research institute, the Road Safety Institute in the Netherlands, has found that about half of bicycle crashes occur through the rider’s fault alone, and only 40% involve collisions with other road users, either bicycles, cars, or pedestrians. Given these numbers, it is apparent that a huge number of bicyclist injuries could be avoided if the bicyclists were properly trained and paying attention, not to mention sober.