Denver residents of all ages love to get outside and ride their bicycles when the weather is nice. Even with the ideal weather and longer daylight hours of summer, though, riding a bike can still come with its hazards. No matter how long you’ve been riding your bike or how much of an expert you believe yourself to be, you’re always at risk of being involved in an accident where you are struck by a moving vehicle. While there’s no way to guarantee that you will never be struck by a car, truck, or motorcycle, you can significantly decrease the odds of a collision and major injuries by following a few simple tips.
Use Bike Lanes
Many Denver roads feature designated bicycle lanes. Staying within the confines of these lanes will help protect you against motorists on the roads while also ensuring that you are not held liable for an accident in the event that one does occur. In cases where a bicycle lane doesn’t exist, we recommend staying as far to the right side of the road as possible (always right of the white line) and being patient when passing other bicyclists, waiting for the road to your left to be free of vehicles.
Keep Your Ears Free
When on a long bicycle ride, you may be tempted to put in your earbuds and listen to music. Unfortunately, your hearing will be significantly diminished if you do this. You may not be able to hear approaching vehicles, thereby increasing your risk for being struck in an accident.
Follow Traffic Laws
Just because you’re on a bicycle doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from the rules of the road. As a bicyclist, you are obligated to make a full stop at all intersections with stop signs and traffic lights, and you are required to yield to those without stops. Whenever making a turn, you must make use of the proper hand signals in order to indicate to drivers which way you plan on turning. Don’t simply use the hand signals and assume that motorists have seen you, though. It’s smart to try to make eye contact with drivers in order to ensure that your signals have been received, thus avoiding an accident. This is especially important whenever making a left turn across traffic.
Go Single File
In most areas of Colorado, the law allows for bicyclists to ride side-by-side in bicycle lanes and along the side of the road. Even so, it’s not always the safest or smartest thing for you to do. Evaluate the situation before making a decision. If the road is extremely busy, it’s wiser for you and your friends or family members to ride single file to decrease the chances of being hit.
Wear Safety Gear
You’re never too old or experienced to wear the proper safety gear when riding a bicycle. You should never mount a bike without wearing a properly fitted helmet. In addition to this, though, we suggest that you consider wearing a brightly colored or reflective vest in order to make yourself more visible to drivers on the road. At night, be sure to make use of a properly illuminated bicycle light and reflectors to improve your visibility to other motorists.
Take a Class
Whether you’re dealing with a first-time rider or you simply haven’t taken a bicycle safety class in a few years, it never hurts to register for a local course in order to familiarize yourself with basic safety principles and the rules of the road.
The more you know about bicycle safety, the better you are able to protect yourself and your loved ones from the threat of an accident. In the event that you or someone you know has been injured by a motorist while on a bicycle, the experts at Mintz Law Firm can help. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.