Motor vehicle operators must be attentive to bicycle riders. They must equate a bicycle with a motor vehicle and observe the same laws. For example: if you are sharing the right lane with a bicyclist and you are planning to turn right at an intersection, you must yield to the bicyclist. You may not drive in a designated bike lane unless you have immediate intentions to turn off the road. There are many “new” traffic laws concerning bicycles and ignorance of the laws will not protect you against negligence if you injure a bicyclist. Bicycle riders are also subject to the same traffic laws as motorists. If you are riding a bicycle, you are also required to obey the traffic laws.
You can make your bicycle journey more enjoyable and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries by following these “common sense” rules:
- Many states require that all young riders wear an approved helmet. Even if your state does not have a bicycle helmet law, young riders should consider a helmet as part of their gear and wear one whenever they ride.
- Parents have a duty to teach their children about traffic laws and road safety. A “young drivers'” handbook is an ideal resource for information. Children should know the appropriate hand signals for making turns, etc. (Parents: remember to teach only hand signals – not hand gestures!)
- It is never advisable to ride a bicycle after dark but, if you must, make sure your bicycle is equipped with headlights, taillights, reflective tape and always wear clothing that can be easily seen.
- Make sure that clothing, backpacks, accessories, etc., cannot get tangled in the spokes or chain.
- Always ride with the flow of traffic (on the right side of the road) and not against the traffic. Motorists are trained to react to other “drivers” who are following the same rules and may not respond quickly enough to avoid an accident if your presence isn’t anticipated.
- Always perform a pre-ride safety check before getting on your bicycle. Check the brakes, check the alignment of the frame, and, if you have “quick release” wheels, make sure you have your lock in place.
If you file a bicycle accident claim you may be able to receive monetary compensation for your injuries. Success at trial often comes down to the strength of your support and the experience of your expert witness. An attorney can help with the following:
- Case evaluation and pre-trial consultation
- Human factor analysis
- Field investigation
- Case development assistance
- Preparation and presentation of evidence
- Product liability
- Bicycle rider performance testing
- Roadway assessment