Riding your bicycle on an empty road is nothing like tackling heavy traffic. For example, if you commute to and from work on your bicycle, you’re likely to come across a variety of situations that could cause an accident if not approached in the appropriate manner.
Here are some tips you can follow to remain safe when cycling in traffic:
- Wear safety gear: You don’t plan on being in an accident, but you have to prepare like you will. If nothing else, make sure you always wear a bicycle helmet. You must protect your head in the event of an accident.
- Use a bicycle lane, when available: Any time a bicycle lane is available, this is where you should ride. It’s for bicyclists only, which minimizes the risk of an accident with a motor vehicle.
- Follow the rules of the road: Just because you’re on a bicycle doesn’t mean you can make your own rules. Stop at red lights, signal when you’re turning and don’t cut other people off.
- Don’t ride on the sidewalk: When at all possible, avoiding riding your bike on the sidewalk. This may protect you against an accident with a motor vehicle, but it increases the risk of a crash with a pedestrian. Sidewalks don’t afford enough space to keep everyone safe. If there’s no bicycle lane, ride in traffic.
- Carefully approach intersections: Many bicycle accidents happen at intersections, often due to a mistake by either the cyclist or a driver. For example, if the light is green, slow down slightly until you verify that cross traffic has stopped.
The more safety tips you follow, the more confident you’ll be when you jump on your bicycle in heavy traffic. But don’t let that confidence push you into making poor decisions.
If you’re injured in a car-bicycle crash, such as the result of a driver running a red light, you’re likely to require immediate medical attention. Stay where you are, call for help or ask a bystander to assist you. Your primary goal is to get an ambulance to the scene as quickly as possible.
As you recover, the time will come to learn more about the cause of the crash, your legal rights and the steps you can take to obtain compensation for damages.