Biking is a fun and convenient way to get around and to exercise, but it can also be extremely dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2019. May is National Bike Month, and while the celebration’s goal is to illustrate the numerous benefits of biking and encourage more people to take up the hobby, it’s also important to remind bicyclists how to minimize risk when they hit the pavement.
In this blog, we’re giving critical bicycle safety tips and explaining what you would need to prove in a personal injury case if you were involved in an accident while riding a bike.
Bicycle Safety Tips
Whether you’re biking to work, or biking for pleasure, safety should always be a top priority. These are a few bicycle safety tips to consider so you can ride with confidence:
- Wear a properly fitted helmet. This might seem like an obvious tip, but riding a bicycle means running the risk of falling or crashing—and if that happens, you definitely want to protect your head! In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in a crash. Helmets aren’t just for kids; adults benefit from head protection, too.
- Increase your visibility. If you’re planning on riding your bike at night, wear high-visibility clothing and equip your bike with safety reflectors to mark your presence for oncoming vehicle traffic. Some people even place blinking lights on the back and front of their bikes to make themselves even more noticeable to cars coming their way. Wear fluorescent clothes for the same visibility reasons if you’re riding during the day.
- Communicate your intentions. Don’t make a turn or change lanes on your bike without making your intentions clear. Signal and look over your shoulder before you do so to show drivers what your next move will be. This way, drivers will know to stop or slow down to accommodate you.
- Inspect your bike. Just as you would never want to drive a car without getting it inspected for safety, check that your bike is in good working order before you ride. This includes making sure the seat is in place, the bike mechanics are working properly and your tires are inflated.
- Know the rules of the road. Make sure you know all the local traffic laws before going out to ride. Not only will this help you anticipate what other drivers will be doing, but it also helps keep you safe as you must also follow the rules.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions you take, there’s always a chance that you could be injured on the road while riding a bike. However, if you are involved in a bicycle accident, you may be able to recover compensation for damages depending on whether you have a valid personal injury case.
If you want to make an injury claim, whether that be through an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you usually need to prove that you suffered actual damages because of your injury and that the person you’re making the claim against was negligent. Negligence means that the person breached a legal duty owed to you, leading to the accident and your injury. As the person making the claim, the burden of proving these elements would be placed on you. If your case makes it to court, you must prove to the judge or jury that more likely than not, everything you allege is true.
To prove negligence, you need solid evidence. This can include, but is not limited to:
- A police report documenting the circumstances and cause of the accident
- Eyewitness statements attesting to the details of the accident
- Photographs from the accident scene
- Records of medical treatment associated with your injury
- Documentation of time missed at work and records showing your typical income
- Testimony from a medical professional regarding the cause of your injury
Navigating the landscape of personal injury law can be overwhelming. That’s why you need an experienced trial attorney to help you determine whether you have a valid case and prove it if you do. If you believe you might have a case, our experienced team is ready to help you recover the compensation you deserve—reach out to get started today.