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Preventing bicycle accidents

While a bicycling is a great way to see California on a beautiful day, safety should remain everyone’s top focus. 2016 was a deadly year for bicyclists nationwide with 840 motor vehicle-related cyclist fatalities. That number comes despite legislation designed to protect both drivers and cyclists.

When cyclists are most at-risk

When cyclists are most at-risk 

Seasoned cyclists know to wear a helmet when riding a bike. After all, it’s usually the first lesson children learn about getting on a bicycle. What you may not know is that there are times safer than others for cyclists, as well as cyclists who are more likely to be involved in an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some startling figures:

  • Riding at night: Research has shown that weekday or weekend that riding between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. is most dangerous for cyclists. If you must ride during these hours, ensure that you’re wearing proper illuminating gear.
  • Don’t drink and ride: Alcohol was involved in 35 percent of fatal bicycle crashes. Even if an intoxicated cyclist doesn’t crash, drinking and biking can lead to a CUI arrest in California.
  • Being a man: Maybe it’s an inclination towards risky behaviors but studies show men 5.6 times more likely than women to be involved in a fatal cycling accident.
  • Country roads safer: Seventy-one percent of cycling deaths occurred on city roads in 2016. The higher traffic volume unsurprisingly increases the danger of riding in urban areas.

If you fit the profile of any of these groups of riders, take additional care to ensure that you return safely from your ride.

Follow the law to safety

Helmets and not wearing headphones are two common safety measures to take when riding in traffic. Making sure your bike is in proper working order is another important step. Sharing the road can be more difficult at times.

California has many designated bike lanes. If there is no bike lane present, keep to the right side of the road unless you’re passing or making a right turn or left turn. Cyclists moving slower than traffic may still ride in the left lane but should to keep to the right whenever possible.

Riding where you shouldn’t could cause problems. Cyclists should always ride with the flow of traffic and on the right side, except when passing, changing lanes or avoiding road hazards and lane closures. Cyclists should right on the right side of the road as much as possible because it keeps cyclists with slower moving traffic.

With extra care to safety guidelines and the law, we can lower cycling deaths together.

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Ball & Bonholtzer
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