As summer winds down, more folks may be getting out on their bicycles to enjoy the cooler weather. More riders on the roads and trails may mean more chances for accidents and injuries. Bicycling is a fun activity, but, unfortunately, like any other activity, there are dangers and injuries that may arise from accidents. I am happy to introduce local attorney Mr. John M. O’Brien who shares his thoughts and a useful infographic on the intricacies of bicycle safety.
Riding a Bicycle: A leisurely activity with its own set of rules
It doesn’t matter if you are a child, a teen or a full-grown adult. Riding a bike is a great way not only to do some exercise, but also to relax and have fun. It is a cheaper transportation option and you will even make Mother Nature happy by taking a bike ride rather than your car or the bus. You can take a ride around the city, participate in races with friends or even ride a tandem bicycle with your loved one.
With this said, there are some laws that apply to bicyclists to make sure that they won’t get hurt or hurt anyone while they are out enjoying themselves.
When you are on your bicycle, you must use a permanent seat.
Make sure that you, your passengers and even pedestrians are safe. Always use a permanent seat on your bike and screw it in tightly. If you don’t, there is the danger that when you brake abruptly, the seat may detach and you may fly off and injure yourself or others.
Never attach your bike to a vehicle on a roadway.
We have all seen people on bicycles or skateboards grabbing a tram, a bus or even a car and letting the vehicle drag them. Not only is this illegal, it is also extremely dangerous. You never know when the vehicle in question may stop suddenly, and you can bump into it, or worse, be thrown under it.
You are risking your health if you do it, so please, follow the law and avoid such incidents.
You must always signal your movements.
Unlike cars, bicycles don’t have a turn signal. Therefore, it is mandatory that every time you ride your bike on the road and you need to make a turn or to stop, you have to show this to the other drivers with an arm signal.
Learn which ones they are and always be sure to practice them when you are on your bike, so you can ensure your safety and avoid a crash. It is also forbidden by law to carry any object that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebar.
You must make sure you are in complete control of your bicycle in case you need to make a sharp turn.
Your bicycle must always be properly equipped.
If you decide to ride your bicycle at night, you must install two accessories. The first one is a red reflector which goes on the back of your bike. It must emit a red light powerful enough to be seen from a distance of 300 feet. On the front of the bike, you must install a headlamp with enough power to emit white light visible from 500 feet away.
These precautions are necessary to make sure that you are visible in traffic. Cars must be able to spot you, and you should be able to see what’s coming from the front to avoid any possible obstacle.
You must have powerful brakes.
Your bike must be equipped with brakes that are able to skid on dry, level, clean pavement when the brake is applied. In case you need to stop suddenly you won’t slide on the pavement and crash into the thing you wanted to avoid.
In the end I would like to urge all readers to be very careful when on the road. These laws were made to ensure everyone’s well-being, so abiding by them will give way to more secure and pleasant traffic.
Don’t risk your safety and that of others, just follow the law and have fun!
O’Brien & Zehnder Law Firm are personal injury attorneys located in the Sacramento, California area.
Thank you, John, for your valuable insights on bicycle safety. Not only should adults adhere to the laws and rules of the road, but children and youth should also be taught these same rules. Adults and youth should always wear a helmet when riding.
Now get out there and safely ride your bike!
Featured image originally from Unsplash by Robert Baker