Follow the Rules and Use Common Sense
More than 100 bicyclists are killed in California each year and over 100,000 are injured in collisions. These injuries are commonly the result of the bicyclist or drivers bad judgment, lack of skill or attention, or failure to obey traffic laws. Although bicyclists and motorists share the same rights and responsibilities, and are subject to the same rules and regulations, bicyclists for the sake of their own safety and the safety of others, must pay especially close attention to traffic signs, signals and crosswalks and follow all the rules of the road. These rules are available to all bicyclists and motorists in the California Driver Handbook.
Six Bicycle Safety Tips
- Carefully Choose and Maintain Your Bicycle
When selecting a bicycle be sure that it is a proper fit for you and it is the right model to match the conditions where you will be riding. A properly fitted bicycle is easier to control. A bicycle with the right frame, handle bars and tire size will handle the terrain for which it is intended. While a slim racing bike may appeal to you, it would not be suitable for tough urban streets or off road riding.
Be sure that your bike is in good working order at all times by frequent inspections. It is unlawful in California to operate a bicycle that is not equipped with functioning brakes (CVC §21201(a).
- Wear a Helmet
A potentially life threatening head injury can be prevented by wearing a properly fitted helmet. Several recent studies have shown that wearing helmets reduces the risk of severe brain injury by more than half. Under the law all bicycle riders under 18 years old must wear a bicycle helmet (CVC §21212). For maximum bicycle safety, common sense tells us that the rule should apply to all ages.
- Be Alert at All Times
Despite practicing bicycle safety and obeying all traffic laws, the risk of a collision always exists.
- Beware of stopped vehicles at stop signs, driveways or in parking spaces which may suddenly open a door or pull out into traffic
- A vehicle that has just passed you may make a sudden right turn into your path or an oncoming vehicle may turn left in front of you. Be prepared to take evasive action. Expect the unexpected and don’t assume the other driver sees you. Never ride in a vehicles right side blind spot.
- Learn and use proper hand signals to let drivers know your intentions.
- Always look over your shoulder to be sure the lane is clear before changing lanes or making a left turn.
- Maintain High Visibility
California law requires the use of lights and reflectors at night (CVC §21201). Bicyclist should always wear light and bright clothing, especially during darkness. All bicycles must have the following equipment.
- A front lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet.
- A rear red reflector or a solid flashing red light with a built in reflector visible from a distance of 200 feet.
- A white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclists shoes or ankles, visible from a distance of 200 feet.
- A white or yellow reflector on the front wheel, a white or red reflector on the rear wheel or reflectorized tires.
- Maintain a Safe Lane Position
Always ride in the same direction as traffic. Use the designated bicycle lane when available. If maintaining the same speed as traffic you may ride in the traffic lane CVC §21208) but this is rarely the case. On a one-way street with one or two lanes the bicyclist may ride as near to the left curb as possible.
- Be Aware of Hazards
Always focus on the road ahead and try to see the big picture. Avoid potholes, ruts, gravel, broken glass, metal grates, standing water and other unsafe road conditions. Be aware of unavoidable hazards such as railroad crossings. Slow down at intersections and crosswalks and always yield to crossing pedestrians.
California Bicycle Safety and the Law
Car insurance companies profit by minimizing claim payouts or denying claims completely. If you were injured in a bicycle accident with a motorist, or due to a poorly maintained road or path, do not be surprised if the insurance company tires to place the blame on you.
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury, broken bones or any other serious injury, it is imperative that you consult a personal injury attorney who is familiar with California bicycle laws. Only an experienced bicycle accident attorney knows your rights and remedies under the California bicycle laws and the amount of compensation the law permits. If you or a loved one were injured in a bicycle accident call Vititoe Law today and speak to a qualified bicycle injury lawyer at 818-991-8900 or contact us online.