As the weather continues to warm up, more bicycles begin to appear on our roads and highways. Whether as a form of recreation and exercise, or as alternate means of commuting, riding a bicycle can be dangerous. The New York area has already seen serious bicycle accidents this spring so it is important to step back and remind ourselves of the ways to minimize the risks of being involved in one.
People ride bicycles at different times of the day and for different reasons, which only increases the number of ways a bicycle accident can occur. Just this week an 18-year-old bicyclist was seriously injured on Long Island when he was struck by an SUV as he attempted to cross the road around 10:30 at night. A week earlier, a 33-year-old man out for a ride in Brooklyn during the morning rush hour collided with the large tire of a tractor-trailer and was pulled underneath the truck and killed. The unauthorized truck was on a residential road and not on a designated truck route.
While bicycle accidents may be unexpected, there are precautions a rider can take to reduce the chance of being struck and badly injured. Safety comes first before you even get on the bicycle. Wear a correct fitting helmet, even if it not required by law as a minor fall can still cause a concussion. Check the tires and brakes on the bicycle so you are able to ride with better control. It is helpful to be familiar with the area you plan to ride so you are aware of traffic patterns and other potential hazards. There are also plenty of parks to ride in throughout New York City to avoid traffic altogether.
If you do plan to ride in a highly congested traffic area, there are some things to keep in mind. Riding close to parked cars instead of near moving traffic is not the safest plan. Parked cars pose the risk of doors opening up into your lane (especially with people exiting taxis) or pedestrians jutting out from between cars.
Even though bicycles do not have motors, riders still have to abide by the same laws as motorists. This includes adhering to traffic lights, turn signals and one way streets. No riding on the sidewalk, and do not listen to headphones or earbuds with both ears. Just as cars need a horn, bicycles are to be equipped with a bell. And yes, riding at night requires a headlight and taillight on your bicycle.
Bicycles continue to be an integral part of our daily life as we have seen with the addition of ride share programs across the country such as Citi Bike and more cities looking to create bike lanes for commuters. Unfortunately the nature of bicycle accidents are serious injuries. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury as the result of a bicycle accident it can be devastating. Do not delay and call the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., today.