One of the best conveniences of life in the states is being able to live close to your work, granted you have to work every day. Living close means you don’t have to deal with a long commute that is almost always flooded with traffic in both directions. If this is the case, you have likely considered downsizing your personal automobile to a handy and earth friendly bicycle.
The many advantages of biking to work far outweigh the obvious risks associated with this physical activity. The most minimal advantages include saving on fuel, car maintenance, and health care costs. The more lasting and significant rewards comes in the form of improved physical and mental health that result from daily exercise.
Before investing fully in this economical and beneficial routine, you should also consider the basic risks associate with biking to work and how you can protect yourself in case of accidents on the road. The biggest risk for a bicyclist on the roadways is collision with a moving vehicle. Needless to say, the resulting injuries can be debilitating or even terminal.
Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of getting involved in such an accident by practicing defensive bicycling. Map out the shortest, most convenient route and one that will avoid sharing lanes with other vehicles. Once on the road, be aware of all traffic and don’t assume drivers can see you or will yield to you. It is safest to bike defensively, obey traffic signals, and say in protected zones such as bike lanes.
The most immediate and reliable form of protection you can get for yourself is personal protective equipment such as a trusty helmet, appropriate biking clothing, and a well-maintained bicycle with the necessary reflective and lighting materials.
Lastly, if you do find yourself in an accident with another vehicle, treat it as you would if you were in your personal car: obtain the driver’s insurance and contact information; make note or take pictures of damages to yourself, your bicycle, and their vehicle; call for emergency services should you require it and make a police report for proper documentation. If you have been hurt, you are still eligible to file for personal injury claims from the other party. Know you can protect yourself beyond the physical equipment necessary for biking to work.Read More
Frequently, automobile drivers get frustrated when a cyclist is blocking traffic and riding in the center of the lane. And they have the right to do so. But why? Bicycles are vehicles. Although you might not like their slow rate of speed, bikes are considered to be equal to a car. A person can’t walk on the street and slow traffic, but a bike has every right to be there.
If you attempt to pass the bike on the right and you cause an accident, then you are responsible for all of the costs that come about because of the accident. You can’t blame the cyclist. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a car and a bike, you will need a personal injury attorney to represent you in the inevitable lawsuit.
Throughout Southern California, cities are setting aside tiny lanes (marked by solid white lines and frequently painted green) for cyclists to use. In some places, where there is more than one lane in each direction, the city will paint the stencil of a bike indicating that the cyclist has the legal right to be in the lane.
These additions, intended to help bikers and drivers share the road, have cause some confusion. For example, if there is a bike lane, can the cyclist is ride outside of the lane and use the full lane of traffic? In short, yes. Although thin bike lanes are intended to encourage more bike riders to use busy streets, they still have full use of the road. Keep in mind, those bikes are automobiles. If the cyclist deems the bike lane unsafe (other cyclists, pedestrians, open car doors) the cyclist can opt for the vehicle lane instead — even if that means slowing traffic to 15 miles per hour.
For years, only daredevil riders opted to take on the California streets on a bike. Today, however, cyclists and drivers have to adapt and respect each other to make California streets safe and accessible for anyone willing to follow the law.Read More
On September 2, 2015, NPR reported a dramatic increase in bike-related injuries and deaths as more people take to the roads in the US. NPR cites a Journal of American Medical Association article showing that bike-related hospital admissions more than doubled in the last 15 years.
The primary group being injured… those over 45. As the Baby Boomers are getting older, many of them are finding the ease and convenience of using bike riding for local transportation. This older generation has found biking an easy way to incorporate exercise into daily chores around town.
Unfortunately, older bikers are more likely to get hurt when involved in an accident. When a 60 year-old falls off a bike, there is an increased chance of a broken bone as compared to a 20 year-old in the same accident. Plus, with an older person, a severe injury is more likely to lead to expensive complications.
However, the answer is not to avoid bike riding. Bicyclists and cars need to learn to share the road. Both bikers and vehicle drivers need to learn how to respect each other while using the same lanes for transportation. If you’ve been involved in an accident between a car and a bike, call a lawyer immediately. Bike-car accidents mean expensive medical treatments — and a court lawsuit may the only way to reach an unbiased conclusion as to who should bear the costs.Read More
Adults riding bicycles in California do not have to wear a helmet while on a bike; but that law is under review with a potential new law. Wearing a bike helmet is a personal choice and, so far, no states demand that adults use bike helmets. In March of 2015, California state senator Carol Liu introduced a new law that would fine adults for not wearing a helmet. Bike advocacy groups immediately responded saying that this kind of bike helmet law ultimately discourages bike riding making the roads more dangerous for those who chose to bike among the cars.
Thanks to bike sharing programs in San Diego and San Francisco, drivers will be sharing the road more often with cyclists. In addition, San Diego has recently added more bike lanes to city streets. Plus, drivers may notice that many roads now host a right lane for bike use when a bike is present. Unfortunately, this could mean more accidents while drivers and bikers learn to adapt to the rules of the road. In fact, from 2008 to 2012, collisions with bike riders rose 18%.
If you’ve been in an accident as a driver or cyclist contact a lawyer immediately to determine how to settle the case in a fair and balanced manner. Filing a lawsuit is a responsible way to help push California bike laws into public view. When the courts have more case decisions interpreting state laws, more people can adapt and follow those laws.Read More