According to the National Safety Council, there were approximately 1,089 bicycle deaths that occurred in 2019. Furthermore, 712 of these deaths were the result of motor vehicle accidents. The National Safety Council has classified these as preventable deaths, meaning that if motorists and cyclists take the proper precautions, these deaths would be less likely to occur. The following article will provide some helpful tips for both motorists and cyclists to avoid the occurrence of bicycle accidents in the future.
Tips for Motorists
- Obey all posted speed limits. By adhering to the posted speed limits, you can help ensure that you are able to safely avoid hitting a cyclist in an emergency. Additionally, you should also ensure that you adjust your speed accordingly when there are dangerous road conditions, such as ice or rain.
- Yield to cyclists on the road. Cyclists should be regarded as any other motorist on the road. This means that you should always make sure you yield to cyclists when possible. Additionally, do not make the mistake of underestimating the cyclist’s speed.
- Do not engage in distracting behavior while driving. Do not follow too closely behind a cyclist, as you will be unable to stop safely in case of an emergency. Ensure that you maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the bicycle, just as you would do with any other vehicle. Also, do not use your horn unless absolutely necessary; the sound of a car horn can be very distracting to cyclists and can cause them to crash.
- When you are in the parking lot, stay alert for cyclists. When backing out of parking spaces and entering roadways, make sure to take an extra second to check for any cyclists in your blind spots.
Tips for Cyclists
- Make sure your bicycle is fully functional before you ride. Before heading out on the road, do a quick check to make sure that your bicycle is working properly (i.e. check the brakes, assess the tire pressure, etc.). This will help to ensure that your bicycle does not malfunction on the road, which can cause a serious accident.
- If you are cycling at night, wear reflective material. Road visibility is very low at night. If a motorist cannot see you or your bicycle, there is a chance that you could be involved in a crash. Make sure you are wearing clothing with reflective material or that your bike has this type of material on it to make you and your bicycle easier for motorists to spot.
- Stay with the flow of traffic. Make sure that you are maintaining the same speed with other motorists to ensure that you do not incidentally cause an accident. Also remember to travel in the same direction as traffic.
- Do not engage in distracted riding. While riding, it is best not to listen to music or use your cell phone so that you are able to remain fully alert and can avoid a potential accident. It might also be helpful to plan your trip in advance so that you do not have to use a GPS while riding.