Hit the road and stay safe!
Spring is here and hopefully we’re all dusting off and tuning up our bikes! What’s better than feeling that warm fresh air on a spring bike ride after a long winter of riding the couch and pedaling through Netflix. Whether you’re pulling the comfy-seated beach cruiser out of the garage to cruise down to the coffee shop on Saturday mornings, or meticulously cleaning and tuning your carbon-framed performance bike getting ready for that fifty miler with your spandex-clad friends, it’s bike season! Let’s get out there and hit the roads, paths and trails and have some fun.
However, before you tear out of your driveway for that two-wheeled, human-powered cruise let’s talk a little about some things to make sure we have a fun ride and make it home safe. Wear a helmet! Let me repeat, wear a helmet! Helmets literally save lives. Cycling helmets in 2019 are light, cool, comfortable, affordable and downright fashionable. Protect that bean before you go.
Did I mention it’s 2019? Therefore, every person driving towards you or past you on your bike has a super-charged smartphone from the future in their car. And, it seems like that despite our strict hands-free motor vehicle laws and aggressive enforcement by law enforcement, at least every other driver whizzing by is texting or searching for something on their phone. This means they’re not looking for you on your bike and they are oblivious to the world outside of their air-conditioned, hermetically-sealed metal travel box on wheels. You have to be tuned in to cars around you when pedaling your bike. Cars win the battle of physics against bikes 100% of the time.
Ride your bike respectfully. It seems that many drivers who don’t ride bikes have an odd resentment of cyclists. Maybe they’re jealous they can’t be having fun with us while we’re playing bikes. I don’t know, but let’s be ambassadors for bikes and ride with a smile. Ride in the direction of traffic. Don’t ride on sidewalks. Ride in the shoulder if one is available. If there is no shoulder stay as far to the right as reasonably possible. If you are riding with friends do not spread out into the road more than two-riders wide. Be happy and give a wave as you ride along.
Listen, unfortunately sometimes things happen when we’re out their riding. A car turns in front of you, a car clips you from behind, a car blows a stop sign or red light and as a result you wind up on the ground, hurt. If you find yourself in that situation I suggest you do the following to make sure you’re protected:
(1) Call the police. Make sure the investigating officers prepare a report.
(2) Identify witnesses and gather information. If you’re not too banged up from the accident get phone numbers and names from people who may have seen what happened. Take photographs of the area.
(3) Go see a doctor. No shame in getting checked out after a wreck on your bicycle especially if you’re feeling a little dinged up.
(4) Give me a call. If you got hurt riding your bike because the driver of a car did something wrong, we should talk about what legal options you may have.
So, go pedal and smile and feel the breeze on your face. Enjoy the sunshine. Winter and ice will be back soon enough so enjoy. Here’s to a happy and safe cycling season! If you need me, you know how to get me.
Author: John E. Gregory
Partner, Keefe Law Firm
Practice Area Center: Personal Injury
Practice Area Category: Bicycle Accidents