There are many people who rely on a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation and there are plenty of others who engage in bike riding for recreational or sporting purposes. While riding a bike has its perks as it is a healthy form of exercise, it also comes with potential risk. With more distracted drivers occupying the roadways and many who simply are not keeping a watchful eye out for those who are riding a bike, many cyclists are getting injured and some are even being killed in accidents. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 1,000 bicyclists died and nearly 467,000 cyclists suffered an injury.
Although we cannot prevent all accidents from occurring, we can put forth the effort on our part to help reduce the chances of becoming the victim to one. It all starts with taking precautionary measures and implementing them during the time of day you plan to ride, whether it is day or night. Below we share some of the safety measures you and your family can take to help you have a safer ride.
How to stay safe while riding a bicycle at night and during the day
- Be sure your bike is equipped with a rear red light, preferably one that is blinking. Not only does South Carolina’s laws require you to have one, but you are also required to equip your bike with a lamp on the front that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front [Palmetto Cycling Coalition]. Aside from having a well-lit bike, be sure you are wearing reflective clothing so that you are visible and bright. Not only will this keep you safe, but it will help others see you working out those calves and rocking some sweet bicycle spandex.
- Regardless of when you are riding, be sure you wear fluorescent colored clothing to ensure you are visible. Ideally, you want to look as bright as your future.
- Before riding down an uncharted path at night, travel down it during the day so you are familiar with it and are aware of any potential hazards such as potholes, cracks, or other things you might miss in the dark. Still ride with caution, however, just in case you encounter a rogue Sasquatch or Chupacabra – or more likely a deer.
- Carry essential tools for the unexpected mechanical failure. This might include a spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and bike pump.
- Ride in a group or with a partner. Riding at night is a risk in and of itself and you shouldn’t be alone as you never know when a tire might pop or an accident might occur. Again, if you encounter any wild animals there is always safety in numbers … or at least you have better chances of outrunning your riding partner.
- Ride single-file if you are traveling with another person and always travel in the direction of traffic.
- Watch for opening car doors and other hazards. We all laugh when we see a cyclist hit a suddenly opened door in the movies, but you will not be laughing if you suddenly go airborne because of an inattentive soccer dad.
- Wear a helmet and protective body gear in the event you forget to unclip at a stop and fall over or you get hit or forced off the road by an inattentive or road-raged motorist.
- Be sure you are acquainted with the laws cyclists must abide by in Spartanburg and Greenville, SC. I know we tend to forget that there are laws associated with cycling, so make sure to read Palmetto Cycling Coalition’s article on SC bicycle laws.
- Use hand signals when turning and use added caution at intersections [Source: National Safety Council].
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As you can see, cycling does come with some risk, and while we hope these safety tips can prevent injury, people make mistakes and accidents do happen. If you were recently involved in a bicycle accident and suffered an injury, you may be entitled to collect compensation for various things such as pain, suffering, medical bills, and even lost wages if your injury kept you from working. If you would like to learn more about your rights as a victim and what your injuries might entitle you to collect, contact Greenville, SC personal injury lawyer Paul Hammack.