Finally, the rain has stopped and it’s time to hit the trails (or the roads) for a ride on your bicycle. Bike riding is one of America’s most popular outdoor sports; it’s a great way to exercise, commute and have fun. Children especially love to ride bikes but it is very important to teach them bicycle safety and the rules of the road in order to decrease the chance of an accident or a traffic ticket.
According to the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 677 cyclists were killed, and an additional 48,000 were injured in accidents with motor vehicles in 2011. Cyclist deaths accounted for two percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, as well as 2% of the people injured in traffic crashes during that year.
Bicycle Safety Tips
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following tips for children’s bike safety:
- Wear a Helmet. Be a good role model by wearing a bicycle helmet and make sure your child wears one too. Make sure the helmet fits properly; the NHTSA bike safety home page has instructions for fitting a helmet correctly.
- Adjust the Bicycle to the Child. People have an easier time controlling bicycles that are the proper size for their height. Road bikes should have one to two inches between the child and the top bar and mountain bikes should have one to four inches. Seats should be level and the height should allow a slight knee bend for a fully extended leg. Handlebar heights should be level with the seat.
- Perform a Basic Maintenance Check. Are the tires inflated? Are the breaks working?
- Avoid Night Riding. If night riding cannot be avoided wear fluorescent colors (not just white) plus reflective tape or flashing lights. The bicycle should have reflectors on the front and back and on tires; the front should have white headlights.
- Keep Both Hands on the Handlebars. Always ride with both hands on the handlebars to maintain good control over the bicycle. Do not allow yourself to be distracted with cell phones or items which should be stored safely in a bicycle carrier or backpack.
- Stay Alert and Avoid Hazards. Small road hazards such as potholes, broken glass or gravel can be a tiny nuisance to a car but a serious problem for cyclists. Avoid these problems if possible or slow down to avoid an accident.
Follow the Rules of the Road. The rules are there to encourage safe driving practices and penalize bad ones. Keep in mind that a cyclist is expected to follow the same rules as a motorist and can receive a ticket for not doing so.
Accidents Involving a Car
If you have been injured in an accident with a car, it is vital to report the accident to the police, file a police report immediately and to seek prompt medical treatment. Document and preserve the evidence from the scene of the accident, as well as your medical treatments. You should also notify your insurance company as soon as possible but you should never accept an insurance company settlement without first speaking with a personal injury attorney.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!