As summer approaches, riding a bicycle is a great way to travel and get some exercise. However, whether you are out for a ride in the park or by the lake, bicycle accidents can occur unexpectedly anytime and anywhere.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 857 deaths related to bicycle crashes in 2018 alone. With this in mind, it is important to understand these bicycle accident safety tips to avoid accidents.
Wear a Bicycle Helmet!
One of the most important safety tips for bicyclists in Kenosha is to wear a helmet that fits, in order to prevent injury from an accident. According to the National Safety Council, A bike helmet is a cyclist’s best line of defense, reducing the risk of head injury by more than 50%. For severe head injuries, the protective benefit is even higher.
The helmet should sit in level with your head and forehead. Forehead placement should be one or two finger-widths above your eyebrow. Both side straps should form a “V” shape under and slightly in front of your ears.
If possible, lock the slider on the straps. When buckling, center the left buckle under the chin. Most helmets will allow the straps to be lengthened or shortened. Adjusting the straps is easier if you take the helmet off to make the changes.
Buckle your chin strap and make sure it is tight enough so that no more than two fingers can underneath. A way to double-check the final fitting of your helmet is to open your mouth wide, imitating a yawn. The helmet should pull down on your head. If not, readjust the straps. If the helmet covers your eyes, then adjust the front strap of the “V”. If the helmet is far too back, then adjust the back strap of the “V”.
Adjust Your Bicycle to Fit and Check Your Equipment!
For road bikes, there should be 1-2 inches between the rider and the top tube (bar), whereas for mountain bikes there should be 3-4 inches. The seat should be level on all sides. The height of the seat should allow the extending leg to be slightly bent when the bike’s pedal is the closest to the ground. The handlebar height should be even with the seat. Be sure to check that your tires are inflated properly and your brakes work. These are all crucial safety measures to avoid bicycle crashes in Kenosha.
Riding Safely on Kenosha Roads
Always ride with both hands on the handlebars. The only exception for this is when using a hand to signal a turn. If you are carrying books or other items, it is best to keep them in a backpack, basket, or another carrier.
It is critical to look out for any hazards or obstacles on the road, including:
- Broken glass or other sharp objects
- Pets and children
Any of these hazards could cause a crash.
This includes using eye contact with drivers, turn signals, or pointing to hazards for bicyclists behind you. Use language such as “passing on your left” or “on your left” before passing a pedestrian will allow the pedestrian to know of your presence.
Regardless of the season, most bicyclist deaths occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. This is because it is difficult or almost impossible for motorists to see bicyclists at night or even at dusk or dawn. As a result, it is important to use reflectors on both sides of your bicycle. In fact, white lights and red rear reflectors (or lights) are required by law throughout the country.
Bike where you will be seen and look over your shoulder before turning. Despite the time or the weather, be sure to make yourself visible on the road. Wear neon fluorescent or other bright-colored clothing when riding. Wear something that can reflect light, such as reflective tape, markings, or strobing flashlights.
Also, it is important to tie your shoes properly and tuck your pant legs so that they do not get caught in your bike chain. Lastly, be sure to ride sober — alcohol was involved in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.
How to Communicate to Driver, Pedestrians, and Other Bike Riders
According to the Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road Handbook, there are four important arm signals cyclists must use to communicate to motorists around them. To make a left turn signal, the cyclist must fully extend their left hand. To make a right turn signal, the cyclist must create a ninety-degree angle with their left arm and their fingers pointing up. An alternative right turn signal is to fully extend the right arm. To signal stop, create a ninety-degree angle with your left arm while your fingers point down.
When approaching a school bus with flashing signal lights and its “STOP” arm out, bicyclists must give the stop hand signal and come to a complete stop. A bicyclist may proceed when the STOP arm retracts and the flashing signals cease on the school bus.
What to Do at a Traffic Light
If a cyclist approaches a traffic light they must stop at a red light. A yellow light is a warning the light is about to turn red. Prepare to stop. You may go on a green light but first, look carefully in all directions to see if it is safe to proceed.
A bicyclist may proceed after yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic if a red light fails to turn green after waiting for at least 120 seconds. Regarding red light left turns, this rule does not apply in all communities.
If a cyclist approaches a flashing red light they must stop. Look left. Then look right and left again. If all is clear, proceed safely. If a cyclist approaches a flashing yellow light they must, slow down, and proceed carefully.
Additionally, when you’re at an intersection or crossing railroad tracks, slow down. Lastly, when you pass parked cars, ensure you have enough space so that if someone opens a door and does not see you, you don’t get severely injured.
Plan Your Trip!
Plan your bike trip ahead of time. This way, you can avoid riding on busy streets and intersections.
Of course, you are also safer on bike lanes and paths, since they were designed for you. Take every safety precaution you can to reduce your chances of suffering an injury.
Why Bicyclist Safety is Crucial to Prevent Accidents in Kenosha
The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer understand the importance of bicycle safety to prevent accidents in Kenosha. If you can ride in a designated bike lane, do so.
However, if you or someone you loved was wrongfully injured at a traffic intersection while riding a bicycle, call the experienced bicycle accident lawyers, at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. for a free consultation today.