Just like motorcycles, bicycles are considered vehicles, and have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway. Bicyclists must follow the same traffic rules, including obeying all traffic signage and directives, and keeping safe distances from other vehicles/bikes. Unfortunately, some bicyclists and motorists ignore the rules of the road, putting themselves and others at risk for injuries.
Not surprisingly, crashes between motorists and bicyclists can result in severe injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 850 bicyclists were killed in collisions in 2019. Children ages 5-15 are he most vulnerable to severe injuries and fatalities, making up nearly a fifth of the total number.
In Pennsylvania alone, we average about 1,142 accidents per year, with 17 deaths. Most of these fatalities and injuries happen at intersections with a stop sign or a traffic signal.
The National Safety Council estimates that bicycle injuries and fatalities combined have an annual economic impact of more than $5 billion between wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle damage, and employers uninsured costs.
While these numbers may be alarming, it’s important to keep in mind that bicycling is still a healthy, safe activity and form of transportation for millions of people. The personal injury attorneys at Dale E. Anstine want you to be safe on the road, and offer the following tips to share with our bicycling community:
Be prepared before heading out on the road.
If bicycling either for transportation or for fun, make sure you are prepared. Your bike should fit you – not too large or too small. A properly sized bike makes for a safer ride. Check the brakes and all moving parts to make sure the bike operates properly. If riding near dusk or in the evening, have your bike properly outfitted with lights and reflectors. If you have items to take with you, use a backpack or a bag that is strapped to the rear of the bike.
Drive defensively and stay alert.
Bicycles are much smaller road vehicles that motor vehicles, and can easily be hidden from view in a motorist’s blind spot. When on the road, be alert at all times and ride defensively. Ride with the flow of traffic and use proper hand signals. The same rules of the road apply to bicyclists as motorists, so obey all traffic signs, signals and road markings, just as if you were driving a car. Cell phones should be in a backpack or bag on the back of the bike – never in your hand, front pocket, or other area that can cause a distraction.
Improve your riding skills.
Newly licensed motorists often practice driving in safe places like parking lots and neighborhoods, and bicyclists should do the same. Before heading onto a major street or road on your bike, be sure you are comfortable with your bike and your skills. You should slowly work up to riding on a busy street, after practicing and becoming comfortable.
If you are heading out on your bike to get to work, school, or just to take a leisurely ride through the neighborhood, be sure to remember these key tips to be safe. At Dale E. Anstine, we believe that many injuries can be prevented by taking a few extra steps.
Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys at Dale E. Anstine are here when you need them, and you can reach out at any time for a free consultation. Our firm is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community, with offices in York and Gettysburg.