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Bicycle Laws and Safety Tips to be Aware of

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If you’re a bicyclist, it’s important to be aware of the laws that apply to you in order to prevent bicycle accidents. States have different laws in regards to bicycles and bicycle safety, but there are some general rules you should know.

  • Bicycles are considered vehicles for traffic law purposes. This means you should ride on the right side of the road, not the left, and stay off the sidewalk. This also means that you’re subject to DWI laws; in California this is addressed in Cal Veh. Code Ann. Section 21200 and 21200.5.
  • Always wear a helmet to protect against head and brain injuries. With studies increasingly showing the negative effects of traumatic brain injuries, it’s becoming more clear how important it is to protect your head when engaging in sports.
  • If bicycling at night, wear light clothes and make sure your bike has reflectors. Also consider wearing a reflective vest and putting lights on your bicycle.

Accident Attorney | California Bicycle Laws

  • Your bike must have working brakes
  • Your handlebars must not be higher than your shoulders
  • If biking at night, you must have a forward-facing lamp and reflectors on your pedals, back, and four reflectors on the sides.
  • You must stay as close to the right edge or curb as possible except when passing, turning left, or avoiding a hazard.
  • You have to ride on the seat unless the bike is designed to be ridden otherwise.
  • Bike riders or passengers under 18 must wear a helmet.

Motorized bicycles are governed by different rules, so if you have a motorized bike, you’ll need to be familiar with those laws. You can see the full text of the laws mentioned here.

Finally, use common sense. If it doesn’t seem safe to do something on your bicycle, don’t do it. Your health and well being is the most important thing.  And if you have been injured or involved in a bicycle accident and need legal representation, contact us.

If you’re a bicyclist, it’s important to be aware of general laws which apply to you in order to prevent bicycle accidents and to avoid tickets. States have different laws with regards to bicycles and bicycle safety, but there are some general rules you should know.

Infographic: Bicycle Laws & Safety Tips

Bicycle Riding Safety Tips

With the weather in Southern California getting warmer, that means more people on their bicycles will be out on the road. Working for an accident attorney, I know that it is incredibly important to focus on safety. Even when you are riding a bicycle. So today I have put together some tips on how to safely ride your bicycle in traffic. If you are suffering from injuries due to an accident, please do not hesitate to contact us. Consultations with an accident lawyer in our office are free!

Bicycle and Road Safety

Accident Lawyer | Staying Safe

Staying safe on any given day when you are on your bicycle is incredibly important. However, with the weather warming up lately, we know that more and more people will be out and about. Here are some ways to keep safe, while also being out and about.

Wear a Helmet

Though wearing a helmet will not prevent you from falling, it will provide protection for your head. Having the right helmet can save you from severe head injuries. However, do not think that you are invincible. It is still possible to be injured. Being careful and making sure you are cycling safely is of the utmost importance.

Wear Proper Attire

Okay, so this may seem stereotypical. However, there is a point to wearing the proper gear when you are out cycling. Especially if you are cycling at night. This is because the majority of accidents happen when drivers have not noticed that a cyclist is nearby. I know that sometimes it seems that cyclists sneak up you, I know that it has happened to me quite a bit. If it is not bright enough out, getting reflective cycle gear will be a tremendous help. The more obvious you are to drivers, the less likely you are to be injured.

Make sure to always wear comfortable clothing. Appropriate shoes, pants, tops, etc. You want to be comfortable, but you also don’t want to get anything caught in the wheels of your bike.

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Take it Easy

If you are not an experienced cyclist, we do not suggest that you throw yourself into heavy traffic. Start off on quiet back streets, if you can. This will get you used to being around cars and other road traffic. But it will not be overwhelming. You can gradually build up your stamina on larger roads by practicing on them on days when there aren’t as many people out. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the streets and any other substantial obstacles.

Obey the Rules of the Road

I can tell you, one of the most frustrating things as a driver, is a bicyclist that does not follow the rules of the road. Always ride with traffic. Stay off sidewalks, stop at stop signs and stop lights. Even if it seems that there is not a reason for you to stop, motorists will give you more respect if they see you obeying the rules of the road. Don’t run red lights. Even if you see other cyclists doing it. It is dangerous for you and other cyclists and drivers.

Obey the right-of-way rules and never go down the street the wrong way. You want to avoid an accident at all costs.

Avoid Distractions

This can be a difficult one because I know that listening to music helps get people motivated. However, it is best to leave the music alone. The reason being, it can impair your ability to hear any oncoming traffic. Seeing that most bikes do not have mirrors, and you are less likely to look behind you while you are on your bike, you need to be distraction free. You should be able to judge the speed, distance, and type of car that approaches you without having to look behind you.

At night, make sure you are paying attention to the lights of a passing car. Most rear-end cars and hybrid cars are very difficult to hear, as they are quieter. So pay extra close attention to those as well.

Be Cautious & Stay Alert

Along with avoiding distractions, you also want to make sure that you are on the lookout for others on the road. Keep in mind that many drivers do not see cyclists. As mentioned before, most bikes do not have mirrors, however, it is actually a good idea to get a rear-view mirror and attach it to your helmet or handlebars. It is so important to be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Paying extra attention at intersections is also important to your overall safety. If cars are turning, make sure you are watching their direction in order to avoid a potential accident. Parked cars that are close to the corner curb may obstruct a driver’s ability to see you coming around a corner. Don’t block the right turn lane and make sure you are paying attention to any cars that are coming up behind you. When crossing an intersection, watch out for any vehicles that are trying to make a left turn, as they are most likely not able to see you. Therefore, there is a chance they could T-Bone you.

Signal

There are signals that a cyclist uses to indicate to other drivers where they are going. And as much as we dislike it when cars don’t signal, cars hate it even more when cyclists do not give any indication of where they are going. Throw one arm out whenever you need to merge with traffic, turning, etc. The biggest danger for cyclists is drivers who are not paying attention. So make sure you are always on the look out for drivers. Even more so important, make sure drivers know exactly where you are going.

Suffering from Injuries? Contact an Accident Attorney Today!

Being injured due to a bicycle accident is stressful. Getting treated for your injuries shouldn’t be. If you are suffering from serious injuries due to an accident, please do not hesitate to contact an accident lawyer at Silverthorne Attorneys. Consultations are free!

Safely Riding a Bicycle in Traffic

Riding a bicycle is significant in many different ways for all kinds of people.  For some, riding is a competitive sport.  Others simply do it for exercise, while many choose to ride as a hobby.

Whichever way you prefer to enjoy riding a bicycle, there are a number of safety rules you must know while riding on the road, bike trails, and sidewalks.  These rules are crucial for your safety and the safety of others when you are riding alongside cars and other bikes.

Here are some bike safety laws and guidelines to help prevent injury while riding a bicycle:

Wear a Helmet

Protecting your head is vital when riding. Be sure to have it buckled and strapped on tight so that it is covering your forehead.  The helmet should not be sagging near the back of your head.

Stay Visible

You must assume you are riding as if you were a car.  You need to stay in your appropriate lane signal when you are preparing to make a turn.  If you are riding at night, you need to have a light on the back of your bike and be sure to wear bright colors.  It is also important to ride in the same direction of traffic.

Turn Signals

If you are going to ride in the bike lane, you must learn how to signal.  These are all done with your arms to let passing cars know where you are turning or stopping.

  • Left – Extend your left arm straight out sideways from your body.
  • Right – Extend your left arm out at a 90 degree angle pointing upward.  You may also extend your right arm straight out sideways from your body.
  • Stop – Extend your left arm out at a 90 degree angle pointing downward.

Prepare Before You Ride

You should make sure you are comfortable when riding your bicycle, but also make sure that your bike is in good condition. Adjust the seat and other features to make sure your ride as smooth as possible.  Check to make sure your brakes are working, that your tires aren’t flat, that the chains are good and tight, etc. Check the weather and road or trail conditions of the day you hope to ride. Ask someone to ride with you if you are riding a new trail.

Do Not Get Distracted

Using your cell phone or other electronic devices while riding is not a good idea. Your attention should be on your surroundings. Your priority – aside from enjoying your ride – is to keep yourself and others safe.

As fun as riding can be, it has its share of possible dangers if you are not paying attention.  Following these guidelines while riding your bike could save your life.  Accidents can be prevented.

If you, or someone you know is in need of a bodily injury attorney due to a bicycle accident, contact us.  Silverthorne Attorneys will give you a free consultation to see if we can handle your case today.

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