Safety tips for bike riders

Bicyclists should wear safety gear, maintain their bikes and follow the rules of the road in order to increase their own safety.

It is common to see bicyclists out on the road during nice spring and summer days in Connecticut. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bike-related injuries accounted for nearly 500,000 emergency department visits and more than 900 deaths in a single year. While anyone on a bike can be at risk for being injured, males tend to have a higher risk. Because bikes offer very little protection to riders, injury and death are more common for bicyclists than motor vehicle occupants.

Wear safety equipment

One way bike riders can reduce the risk of injury is by wearing personal protective equipment, such as helmets, gloves, elbow pads, long sleeved shirts and pants. This extra gear can protect vital organs from being damaged in the case of a crash. Helmets, for example, play a major role in reducing the risk of traumatic brain injuries when a crash does happen. Fluorescent clothing can make a bicyclist more visible even during the day, which can play a role in reducing the chances of being hit by a motor vehicle.

Maintain bike properly

When the warm weather hits, bicycle enthusiasts may want to pull their ride out of storage and hit the open road right away. However, worn out brakes and dull lights may attribute to bicycle-related accidents. Proper bike maintenance can include replacing tires, cleaning the bike, checking brakes, keeping rear reflectors clean and installing a front light. The bike should be looked over before taking it out, whether it has been a day or several months since it has last been used, to make sure it will be able to take the rider safely from point A to point B.

Know rules of the road

In many municipalities, those riding their bikes on roads and bike paths are supposed to follow similar rules as those driving automobiles. It is important bicyclists are aware of certain rules, such as the following:

  • Cyclists must follow lane markings and traffic signals, which means they should not run red lights nor go straight from a right-turn-only lane.
  • Bikers can use hand signals to indicate when they are stopping and which direction they are turning in order to let everyone else on the road know their intentions.
  • Everyone on bicycles should ride with the traffic when riding on roads because motor vehicle operators may not look for bicyclists on the wrong side of the road.

Each city might have slightly different rules for bikes to follow, so anyone wanting to ride a bike on the road should find out more about the laws in his or her area.

Many bikers in Connecticut take steps like these to increase their safety while out on the road. If an accident takes place and injuries are sustained, it can be helpful to talk with an attorney who has experience with bicycle-related crashes.