Bicyclists are one of the road’s most vulnerable users. They are exposed to serious injury risks in traffic accidents, such as suffering traumatic brain injuries from impacts to the head or skull. Learning and implementing basic bicycle safety tips can help you reduce your risk of getting into a harmful accident on your bike in Arizona.
Obey Traffic Laws
Remember: your bicycle is a vehicle, not a toy. When you ride a bike, you have a responsibility to obey all of Arizona’s traffic laws and roadway rules. This includes traveling in the same direction as traffic, obeying all traffic signs and stoplights, yielding the right-of-way to others, and not riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Following traffic laws will decrease your risk of getting into a collision with a motor vehicle driver by keeping you in the right place at the right time. Breaking the law, on the other hand, can put you in the path of motorists and make your actions on the road unpredictable to drivers around you, increasing your odds of a crash.
Use Bicycle Lanes
In most cities, bicyclists are not allowed to ride on sidewalks. However, you can ride in bicycle lanes or on the road. Limit your interactions with motor vehicle traffic as much as possible while on your bike by keeping to designated bicycle lanes. Bicycle lanes can keep you separate from larger vehicles and reduce your risk of a harmful collision.
Do Not Ride While Distracted
Safely riding a bicycle requires 100 percent of your attention. If you ride while distracted by using a cell phone, daydreaming, personal grooming, reading road signs or rubbernecking a traffic accident, you could crash your bike. Paying attention to the road ahead and the motorists around you can allow you to react quickly to changing roadway situations, such as a car entering your lane, and avoid a collision.
Enhance Your Visibility to Motorists
Many bicycle accidents in Arizona take place because the motorist did not see the bicyclist. Bicycles are small vehicles that can be easily missed, especially in a busy city or downtown area. While you cannot control whether a driver is paying attention to the road, you can decrease your risk of being struck by a car by enhancing your visibility on a bicycle. Wear bright colors and reflective material when you ride. Avoid riding between sunset and sunrise. If you must ride at night, make sure you have a working headlight and red rear light or reflector.
Keep Both Hands on the Handlebars
Do not remove either hand from the handlebars while riding a bike. Riding with one or no hands increases the odds of losing control and crashing. Keep both hands on the handlebars to remain in complete control of your bicycle at all times. This will allow you to react more quickly to dangerous situations, potentially enabling you to maneuver away from crash risks.
Check Your Bike Before You Ride
In Arizona, all bicycles must have a white headlight visible from at least 500 feet and a rear reflector visible from 50 to 300 feet if the cyclist plans on riding at night. Bicycles must also have working brakes. Take time to check your bicycle equipment before going for a ride. Check your bike’s tires, brake line, bolts, lights and reflectors. An equipment failure could force you to lose control of your bicycle and crash or veer off the road.
Always Wear a Helmet
In Arizona, helmets are not required by law for bicyclists. However, for your own safety, you should always ride with a helmet on. Bicycle helmets can drastically reduce the risk of suffering a serious or fatal brain injury in an accident. Preparing for a bicycle accident ahead of time by wearing protective gear could save your life.
If you get into a bicycle accident in Arizona, contact an attorney at The Law Offices of John Phebus for a free case consultation. You may be able to recover financial compensation.