Bicycle accidents happen more than you think. In 2017 alone there were over 780 fatal bicycle accidents, many from vehicles hitting bikers while driving. With the nice weather approaching, there are more drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road. A large percentage of crashes could potentially be avoided if all motorists and pedestrians stay focused and follow the rules of the road.
Rules of the Road
The rules of the road help all of us stay safe while we commute. No matter if you are a walker, runner, motorist, or driver, it is imperative that you are focused on your surroundings. This means staying off of your phone, taking out your headphones, looking both ways before crossing a street, and always looking out for possible hazards and roadblocks. Signaling will notify others on the road where you are headed and keep everyone involved safe.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists
- Always wear a helmet. Over 60 percent of bike fatalities are due to head injuries.
- Use the bike lane if there is one available to you.
- Just as if you were driving a vehicle, you are expected to cycle on the right side of the road.
- If you are riding in a group, ride in a single file line.
- Always make yourself visible.
- Avoid riding when it is dark and steer clear from narrow or winding roads.
- Communicate your intentions whether they be turning, stopping, or changing lanes.
- Avoid sudden turns or movements.
Safety Tips for Walkers and Runners
- Use your sidewalks
- Walk or run against the flow of traffic (on the left side of the road).
- Cross streets at marked crosswalks.
- Always look both ways before crossing into the road.
- Pedestrians usually have the right of way; however, it is still important to use caution while crossing the street. Make sure there are no vehicles headed towards you or they are at a complete stop before crossing the road.
- Make your presence obvious by wearing bright colored clothing and carry a flashlight when walking at night.
- Stay clear of any obstacles that would hide you from an approaching driver’s vision.
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Yield to bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Give cyclists space!
- Look out for pedestrians getting out of parked cars
- Obey the speed limits and always stop at stop signs and traffic lights.
- Expect the unexpected. Drive slower and more defensively when around cyclists and pedestrians.
What to do if involved a car or bicycle accident
No matter if you are a pedestrian, cyclist, or a motorist, it is pinnacle that you follow these steps if you are involved in an accident.
Step One: Get out of harm’s way
Make sure that all parties involved are out of the way of traffic if possible. If not possible, have someone direct traffic around the accident. Call the police and alert them if there are injured victims so they can get medical attention
Step Two: Document the accident
Exchange information with all parties and witnesses involved. Take pictures of the accident and any relevant injuries. The more information collected, the easier the process will be. When police arrive, make sure they know the entire story.
Step Three: Follow up with your healthcare provider
Make sure you see your doctor if you have been a victim of an accident. This way there is documentation of your injuries caused by the accident and any symptoms that show up after the fact can be addressed.