Going for a bike ride should be a fun way of getting some exercise. Cycling also serves as an environmentally-friendly form of transportation. While bike riders and cycling shouldn’t be an unreasonably unsafe activity, when cyclists have to share the road with motor vehicles, horrifying collisions can occur.
Crashes between cyclists and a four-wheeled vehicle often result in very severe consequences for the cyclist while causing minimal injury to the occupants of the vehicle involved. Many such crashes are quite often the fault of the people in motor vehicles. Drivers fail to watch for cyclists and may not understand how to safely share the road with them.
While cyclist behavior cannot prevent all crashes, thoughtful choices can help to minimize safety risks. The following two tactics are employed by many cyclists in an effort to improve their safety on the road.
Making themselves as visible as possible
Visibility gear is almost as common as a basic helmet among those who regularly bike on public roads. Cyclists often ride around in fluorescent neon colors or gear with reflective strips and LED lights embedded. By having bright colors and flashes of light, the cyclists aim to draw the eye of drivers that may otherwise not see them.
Unfortunately, the inattentional blindness often responsible for drivers not realizing there is a cyclist nearby won’t necessarily end just because they glance at a cyclist. They will need to cognitively recognize their presence to make the right choices in traffic. While visibility gear helps, it does not ensure that drivers will notice those on bikes.
Carefully following traffic laws
Washington traffic laws include many rules for people on bicycles, including the obligation to comply with all lights and traffic signage. Many cyclists will engage in defensive biking techniques in addition to being far more careful about following traffic laws than the people in motor vehicles usually are.
Properly signaling every time they intend to slow, stop or turn and following the rules for sharing the road with vehicles can not only reduce a cyclist’s risk of a crash but protect them from claims that they are partially responsible for the wreck after one occurs. The insurance policy of the driver who hits the cyclist can help cover their lost wages and medical costs.
Cyclists who have been hurt in bicycle-car collisions may need to pursue insurance claims or lawsuits when there isn’t sufficient insurance coverage to make up for the scope of the injuries they suffered. Although it would be ideal if crashes never happened in the first place, it can be helpful for injured riders to understand their options when they do.