Individuals of all ages enjoy riding their bikes in the state of Arizona. Whether riding for recreational purposes or using a bike as an everyday mode of transportation, it is essential to take specific steps to remain safe on the roadway. During the motion reporting year across the state, the Arizona Department of Transportation says that there were more than 1,000 total bicycle accidents. These incidents, unfortunately, led to 1,005 injuries and 45 fatalities. Here, our Phoenix bicycle accident lawyers recommend 8 key tips for staying safe when riding a bicycle on Arizona roadways.
Have the Right Helmet On
Every individual should have a US Department of Transportation-approved bicycle helmet. It is important to understand that there are many less than reputable retailers selling knockoff bicycle helmets that do not meet DOT requirements. Our experienced Phoenix personal injury attorneys highly encourage purchasing a bicycle helmet from a reputable retailer online or in person. Helmets are the best protection against severe head or brain injuries for a bicyclist.
Practice Riding Regularly
Riding a bicycle may be second nature for most, but it does not hurt to ride regularly. Individuals who operate their bikes on a regular basis become more “fluent” with the operation between their bicycles and the roadway. Practice makes perfect in just about every sense of the word when it comes to riding a bicycle.
See and Be Seen
This bullet point could best be described as the “defensive driving” tactics used by bicyclists. A bicyclist needs to always be alert to their surroundings, constantly surveying what is in front of them, to their sides, and even behind them. One of the best rules of thumb for a bicyclist is that if they do not make eye contact with another driver, they should not assume that the other driver sees them.
Avoid Night Riding
It is best for bicyclists to avoid riding at night. This is the time frame when they will be least visible and most vulnerable to being involved in a severe accident.
Wear Bright Clothing
Whether riding during the day or during the evening hours, we encourage bicyclists to wear clothing that stands out. This can include more whites or neon or even incorporating reflectors into various types of clothing. It is important for a bicyclist to be as visible as possible in order to ensure safety.
Learn to Look Back
Bicyclists often need to look back for various reasons. This can include looking back to scan for any approaching hazards or looking back because they need to change lanes or make a turn. However, looking back can be difficult, and it is not uncommon for more inexperienced riders to “wobble” or lose their line when doing so. We encourage all bicyclists to find an empty parking lot or back road to practice looking back without wobbling or losing the line.
We know that many bicyclists want to listen to their music or podcasts when riding. However, headphones can lead to major distractions. Additionally, headphones can prevent individuals from hearing approaching hazards. Individuals who want to wear headphones should purchase devices that allow ambient noise to go through to a person’s ears, Though we encourage riding without headphones at all.
Avoid Heavy Vehicle Traffic
Heavy traffic is going to be a major problem for bicyclists. Drivers are focused on getting through traffic, not paying attention to a bicyclist. If you know there will be heavy traffic in a specific area, see if you can reroute and go around to an area with less traffic.