Many cities across America are experiencing a revival. Professionals, once destined to head to the suburbs, are heading back into the city to live. The use of bicycles has skyrocketed as professionals look for environmentally friendly options for commuting. The increasing integration of bicyclists in urban areas has created new issues for cars, buses, and motorcycles. Each state has its own laws governing bicycle riding and it is best to check with your particular state and city for specific rules of the road.

What can bicyclists do to be safe?

Ultimately nothing will protect a bicyclist when involved in an accident, but below are some examples of common accident situations and how to reduce their occurrence:

Cars coming from the right at an intersection, driveway, or one way street. This is one of the most common ways for bicyclists to get hit. Riders should make themselves visible to the approaching vehicle by waving a hand or a verbal yell. It is also a good idea to move to the left if you suspect you are not seen by the motorist. A cyclist is statistically more likely to be safer moving left into a lane toward the cars that can see them as opposed to staying right.

Suddenly open doors on parked cars. This is the top way for bicyclists to be injured in many American cities. Again, as with the advice above, it is better to ride more to the left of the parked cars into the center of a lane. Solely based on the odds, a rider has a better chance of a collision with a driver opening their door than from being rear ended by a car from behind.

Riding at a crosswalk to an oncoming right turning car. This is also a dangerous combination for cyclists. In some instances, riding at a crosswalk is more dangerous than on the street. Wearing a bike light and proceeding slowly can reduce these accidents.

All accidents can be reduced by cyclists wearing lights, avoiding busy streets, and by riding as if they are invisible. This includes performing obvious signals and making maneuvers when cars are not present whenever possible. Helmets are essential for protection as is making sure the bike is in good working condition.

In Illinois, proposed amendments increase the fines for motor vehicles interfering with a bicyclist’s right of way. The amendments clarify the right of way in certain situations and designates when it is safe for bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk. These amendments are a double edged sword as they also propose stiffer fines for bicyclists who fail to obey all traffic signs and procedures.

If an accident has happened as a cyclist, seek medical help immediately. Cooperate with the police to document the incident. It would also be wise to seek the counsel of an attorney if injuries and damage to the bike have occurred.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you are a bicyclist injured in an accident, please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.