May is National Bike Month making there no better time to discuss bike safety and the potential consequences of a cycling accident. Cycling is a great way to get to and from work or class, a hobby, or a sport. Unfortunately, for the occasional and avid cyclist, Alabama is the most dangerous state for biking in the country, according to The League for American Bicyclists’ 2015 ranking. Alabama scored only 12.3 points out of 100, while the best state of Washington scored 66.2.
If you are a motorist or cyclist in Alabama, you can help the situation by promoting bike safety education, encouraging the state and communities to build better pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure, and following some key bike safety tips. However, if you or a loved one are injured in a collision, contact the Alabama bicycle accident lawyers of Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at (205) 933-1500. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the insurance or legal process of seeking compensation for your injuries.
Bike Safety Tips
If you are going to head out on a bike ride, whether it is a few blocks to the store or a 15-mile jaunt, you need to consider how you will keep yourself safe amid other cyclists, passenger vehicles, and commercial vehicles.
Some of the bike safety tips you can follow are:
- Know traffic laws: For the most part, you must follow the rules of the road as a cyclist. For example, you need to obey all traffic signs and signals like a stop light or yield sign. However, there are also bike-specific traffic laws in Alabama, including the fact you cannot carry more people on a bike than there are seats or attach yourself to a vehicle on the road. You and other cyclists can also not ride more than two abreast except on bike paths. You should know all these rules and more before taking your bike for a spin.
- Go with the flow: When you are riding with traffic, make sure to go with the flow. Despite common wisdom, you should not ride against traffic but with it. Also, yield to traffic and pedestrians when appropriate.
- Wear a helmet: There are a variety of opinions regarding helmets. In a catastrophic accident, a helmet is unlikely to save your life. However, in many situations, a helmet reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury, disability, and death. Not only does a helmet make you safer and mitigate the chance of significant injuries in a minor collision, it may also be required by law. Alabama requires riders under 16 to wear protective bike helmets.
- Install reflectors: Reflectors make you and your bike more visible to traffic, particularly at night. While it is always smart to have multiple reflectors on your bike, a red reflector on the back of your back is required by law. So is a white light that can emit light at least 500 feet. If you plan on biking in the early morning, dusk, or at night, it is also a good idea to wear reflective clothing. The more visible you are to traffic, the better.
- Ride a properly fitted bike: Bikes are not one-size-fits-all. You should purchase a bike that is the correct size for you and adjust the seat or handlebars as necessary. If you are unsure about your bike’s size or adjustment, visit a bicycle shop for expert help.
- Watch for parked cars: One of the biggest hazards you face as a cyclist is getting “doored” by a driver or passenger who opens their vehicle door into your path. Be careful and vigilant when driving passed parked vehicles and consider slowing down.
- Never drink and ride: You should never go on a bike ride after drinking alcohol or take strong over-the-counter or prescription medications. These inebriating substances can make it difficult or impossible for you to ride your bike safely and increase the risk of an accident.
Hurt in a Crash? Call an Alabama Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
Despite your best efforts, you may have been hurt in a collision caused by a motorist. If you are now suffering from injuries and wondering how you are going to pay the bills, call the experienced personal injury attorneys of Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at (205) 933-1500. We have represented many cyclists injured because of negligent drivers and are prepared to help you pursue compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury suit. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our bicycle accident lawyers in Alabama will travel to the location most convenient to you.
For more information on how we can help, call an Alabama injury lawyer today or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.