They say that prevention is the best medicine. That statement rings true in many situations, including bicycle accidents. The jam-packed streets of New York can be hazardous to bicycle riders, meaning riders need to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe. In 2019, five New York boroughs recorded involving cyclists, with 16 reported fatalities. Here are five things you can do to prevent a bicycle accident
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we take bicycle safety seriously. Our legal team has seen first-hand how bicycle accidents impact a person’s physical and financial health. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of five ways you can prevent a bicycle accident while traversing New York’s sometimes busy and dangerous streets.
Wear a Helmet
Helmets save lives. According to the (NSC), at least one-third of all non-fatal bicycle accidents involve injuries to the head. However, over 50 percent of cyclists report not always wearing a helmet when riding. Helmets are one of the only pieces of safety equipment that can help prevent a cyclist from suffering significant head injuries. Bicycles don’t come with airbags, and you aren’t protected by 3,000 pounds of metal and fiberglass as you would in a passenger vehicle. As a rider, all you have between you and a potential disaster is a helmet. Helmets can help cut your risk of head injury by more than half.
However, a helmet can only work effectively if you wear one that fits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides tips on how to find a helmet that will work for you. Also, you should replace your helmet if you notice the padding deteriorating or the straps have stretched out, as these signs of wear and tear can impact how your helmet fits. You should also replace your helmet anytime in a bike accident. Cracks and damage are not always invisible to the naked eye and can compromise the integrity of your helmet.
Use Signals to Communicate
Never assume that drivers or other bicyclists are anticipating your next move. Always use hand signals to communicate with motorists when turning or changing lanes. Don’t expect drivers to know where you are intending to go automatically. By signaling to those you share the road with, you can protect yourself from being involved in a dangerous collision.
Unfortunately, drivers do not always pay attention to their surroundings. Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable because they are more difficult to see. Even inattentive drivers tend to notice when a huge semi-truck is in their path, but smaller, non-motorized vehicles like bicycles can easily disappear in a driver’s blind spots. To ensure that motorists can see you, you should wear clothing that makes you more visible to others. Opt for bright colors or consider wearing reflective clothing, especially at night. You may also want to equip your bike with reflectors and headlights. These devices can help you see the road ahead in addition to helping others see you.
Avoid Riding with Headphones
It is extremely common for bicyclists to ride while listening to music. However, wearing headphones while you ride can be dangerous. If you’re listening to music on your bike, you might be unable to hear the blare of an ambulance siren, the honking of a car horn, or even people yelling. These sounds can alert you to hazardous situations you may not be aware of, especially if the sounds come from behind you.
Always Obey Traffic Laws
Bicycles are naturally quick and agile vehicles that can maneuver through areas where other vehicles can’t easily travel. However, that doesn’t mean bicyclists have free rein to use New York streets in the most convenient way. Cyclists must follow the same traffic laws that apply to other vehicles. New York has an extensive list of traffic laws that apply to cyclists and motorists, including obeying all posted traffic signs and signals. Bicyclists are also required by law always to keep at least one hand on their handlebars.
Contact an Experienced New York Bicycle Accident Attorney
Unfortunately, following all the rules of the road doesn’t always stop negligent motorists from causing bicycle accidents. If you’ve been hurt in a serious bike accident, our New York injury attorneys can help. the legal team at Hach & Rose, LLP.
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we have the necessary experience to help you recover the compensation you deserve and reduce the financial burden a bicycle accident can cause. To discuss the specifics of your case, call our office at (212) 779-0057 for a free and confidential legal consultation.