Now that the summer weather is here, you may want to get on that bicycle that was stored away this past winter. Getting on your bike is not only good for you and the environment, but it is also a great way to get to and from work. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents with cars are a common occurrence in Philadelphia. You may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim if you have been injured in a bicycle accident.
Fortunately, you can take steps to ensure you stay safe while commuting on your bike. When commuting on your bicycle in Philadelphia, there are many steps you can take to stay safe:
- Do wear a helmet and protective clothing. Your entire body is exposed to potential dangers when riding your bike. Wear protective gloves, shoes, long pants, and especially a helmet. Protecting your entire body from as much danger as possible will help prevent severe injuries in the event of a crash.
- Do stay in the bike lane. Bike lanes are provided for your safety, and you must use them. Cars should pass wide when riding, and staying in the lane designed for you will help keep you safe.
- Do follow the rules of the road. Just riding a bike does not mean you are exempt from traffic laws. You can be pulled over for running a stop sign, just like any other vehicle on the road. Make sure you follow the road rules and avoid citations and collisions.
- Do not ride your bike while intoxicated or tired. Do not ride your bike if you have been drinking. It is also a good idea to avoid riding your bike if you have not gotten enough sleep the night before. Riding while drowsy reduces your reaction time, making it more likely that you will get into an accident.
- Do signal your intentions. Even though your bicycle does not have turn signals, you should still know how to signal your intentions using your arms. When you signal your intentions, you let other vehicles know precisely what you plan to do and where you are going. If you do not allow cars to know that you are planning to turn, you risk getting hit by a vehicle that does not know where you are going.
- Wear light and reflective clothing. When riding your bike, you want other cars to be able to see you as well as possible. If you wear dark clothing, that makes it hard, especially in dim light. By wearing a reflective jacket, you ensure that other cars can see when approaching.
- Do not ride too close to parked cars. Car doors can open on a whim and cause you to slam into them, causing severe injuries. Staying clear of parked cars on the street reduces the likelihood that a driver will open their door right into you.
- Do check your tire pressure and brakes. Before you ride, make sure your tire pressure is adequate. Over time, your bike’s tires will lose pressure. If you do not keep them up to the right pressure or overinflate them, you risk a tire blowout. You also need to check your brakes regularly. Your brakes are integral to your bicycle and will ensure you can stop at a moment’s notice to avoid a collision.
- Do check the weather. Before every single trip, check the weather before you ride. Even a quick check on your phone is good. You do not want to be stranded in a bad storm or heavy rainfall. Even if you are dressed appropriately, riding your bike on the slick pavement is dangerous.
- Do stay alert. Be a defensive bike rider by staying alert and knowing what is happening around you. If you are unaware of everything around you and where the cars are, you could find yourself in a dangerous situation.
- Do not be aggressive. Part of staying safe on your bicycle ride means being defensive and not letting your emotions get the best of you. If a car driver cuts you off or does not see you and nearly causes an accident, it is best to remain calm and avoid confrontation. Do not be aggressive even if you are in the right and another driver was in the wrong. Your best course of action to stay safe is to get away from bad drivers as quickly as possible.
- Do not assume drivers see you. You are small and hard to see. While that is no excuse for a bad driver, you should never assume a driver sees you. Even if you have taken all of the above precautions by wearing reflective clothing, signaling your intentions, and being a defensive bike rider, car drivers may not see you. Do not assume they see you or will react to you.
Every person on the road is responsible for their actions. While you could do everything right, a driver may slam into you, causing severe and life-threatening injuries. Make sure you do what is necessary to ensure you are safe and get the medical treatment you deserve. An experienced lawyer can help you hold the negligent driver liable for their actions.
Pennsylvania Bicycle Accidents
The Philadelphia area has more than double the average amount of bicycle commuters than other U.S. cities. Because riding bicycles is cheaper than a car to park and own, many people use this form of transportation to commute. In response, Philadelphia has been adding bike lanes, bike-only streets, and even changing traffic patterns to help bicycle riders stay safe.
Despite these efforts, bicycle accidents happen in Philadelphia. Nearly 1,000 bike riders die each year in accidents. The nature of bicycles makes them more dangerous than riding in cars. Because your entire body is exposed, even low-speed impacts with a vehicle can be deadly.
That is why so many bicycle riders suffer the following injuries:
- Broken bones.
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.
- Sprains and strains.
- Dislocated joints.
- Internal organ damage.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Neck and back injuries.
You must always act safely while riding a bike. A lawyer can help you explore your legal options if you have been injured in a bicycle accident.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Can Protect Your Rights After a Bicycle Accident
You can do everything right while riding your bike and still have an accident. If you do, your injuries may be severe, and you may need extensive and ongoing medical care. Speak with one of our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC to learn more about your options. Call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, Media, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.