Riding a bike can be fun and great for exercise, but it also presents significant hazards for riders. Negligent drivers, roadway debris, and inclement weather can all affect a bicyclist and cause major injuries. Here, our experienced Phoenix bicycle accident attorney reviews some basic bicycle safety tips, beginning with pre-planning a route and ending with some defensive riding techniques.
Know Your Route
In most situations, bicyclists know the general route they want to take when they head out on their bicycles. Whether a person is riding for recreational purposes or to get from point A to point B, the overall route is probably planned out. However, we understand that there will be some spontaneity, particularly when the riding weather is nice in Arizona.
We encourage bicyclists to have a general understanding of the route they want to take. This includes knowing where there are potential hazards, such as blind corners or roadway obstacles. Additionally, if there is a section of roadway where drivers are known to speed or be careless, bicyclists should avoid these areas.
Wear the Proper Clothing
Bicyclists should wear brighter-colored clothing on the roadway in order to increase their visibility. This is particularly important during the evening, night, and early morning hours. However, wearing brighter-colored clothing can also increase visibility during the daytime.
It is beneficial to also wear reflective clothing when it is dark out. Our experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyers recommend adding reflector strips to the bottom of pant legs or shoes for an added layer of visibility.
Follow Traffic Laws
Bicyclists are required to follow all traffic laws that other vehicles must follow. This includes yielding the right of way to other vehicles and pedestrians, stopping at stop signs or stop lights, using signals to turn or stop, and passing others on the roadway safely.
Bicycle riders are generally required to operate as close as practicable to the right side of the roadway if they are going below the posted speed limit unless they are avoiding obstacles or need to make a turn or lane change.
Please keep in mind that bicyclists are required to have a working front headlight and rear reflector or light if they operate their bicycles at night.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Bicycle riders must practice defensive driving, which includes being aware of their surroundings. We encourage bicyclists to minimize distractions, including the use of headphones or other devices that could impair their ability to hear their surroundings.
Bicycle riders should remain vigilant and constantly monitor their surroundings for any potential upcoming hazards. This includes vehicles turning into or off of the roadway and vehicles pulling out of driveways or alleyways.
Always Wear a Helmet
Arizona does not have a universal bicycle helmet law for riders. However, some local ordinances do require bicycle helmets for riders under the age of 18. We encourage you to research local ordinances before heading out on your bicycle or allowing your children to ride.
However, even though helmets are not mandatory, we strongly encourage all bicyclists to wear a DOT-approved helmet in order to remain safe. According to information available from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there is a 20% to 55% reduction in head injuries in areas where there are policies requiring bicycle helmets.