During the summer months, there is an increase in bicycle traffic partly due to people wanting to get out and enjoy the weather. All drivers have to be aware of this and keenly watch for bicyclists on the road.
Some people tend to think that bicyclists don't have any right of way on the road, but this is false. In almost all cases, bicyclists must ride in traffic lanes because they can't lawfully ride on the sidewalks. Here are some important factors to remember about bicycle safety that can help drivers and cyclists:
Risk factors for bicycle crashes
Some circumstances are more likely to lead to a bicycle crash. Here are some of the risk factors for these accidents:
- Gender: Males are four times more likely to be injured and six times more likely to die than females.
- Age: Children and adolescents from 5 to 19 are the most likely group to suffer from nonfatal crashes, but people ages 50 to 59 have the highest death rate.
- Location: Most fatal bicycle accidents happen at non-intersection places and in urban areas.
- Impairment: Alcohol use by either the driver or cyclist is a factor in 37 percent of fatal accidents.
The duty to prevent crashes falls on everyone on the road. Bicyclists can improve their safety by making sure they are aware of the rules of the road and wearing the proper gear. One issue that increases the chance of a crash is motorists not being able to see the bicyclists. Wearing bright and reflective clothing can improve visibility. Using lights in the front and rear of the bicycle might also help.
Motorists should be vigilant in all areas, especially one where bicycles are known to frequent. This includes established bicycle paths. Being careful around intersections is also important because some drivers don't watch for bicyclists in these locations.
Injuries and death
Bicyclists can suffer serious injuries if they are hit by a vehicle. They don't have anything to protect them from the impact of the car, so they might end up with broken bones. The force of the accident is likely going to cause them to fall off the bicycle. This can cause them to hit their head and end up with brain trauma.
Those who are injured in these crashes can seek compensation. This might defray medical costs and other monetary damages associated with the wreck.