Bicycling is a safe and healthy way for many people to navigate around the city. While it might take a little longer to get to your destination than it would to drive there, you often won’t have to deal with traffic jams and other common commuting annoyances. Even though most trips occur without any problems, there are some steps you can take to better ensure you arrive safely at your destination.
Are bicycles allowed on the road?
Some people assume that bicyclists shouldn’t utilize the roadways; however, bicycles aren’t allowed on sidewalks, so cyclists are free to use the roads instead. One issue that often comes up is that drivers think bicyclists should get out of their way since they’re operating a vehicle, but this isn’t the way it works. Bicyclists have just as much right to use traffic lanes as vehicles do.
Bicyclists should have a minimum of three feet between them and a vehicle. If this isn’t possible, the bicyclist can take the full lane by riding in the middle of the lane. While this might make some motorists upset, it is sometimes the safest option for cyclists to arrive at their destination safely while still obeying traffic law.
If you are riding on a street with vehicles parked on the side of the road, be extra vigilant for people opening car doors into your lane. Dooring is a very serious incident that can lead to significant injuries.
What to do after an accident
Any bicyclist who’s involved in an accident with a motor vehicle needs to seek out medical care immediately. It’s possible that injuries might be masked at first, so be sure to get checked as soon as possible, even if you are not visibly injured. If the motorist was the at-fault party, cyclists might want to contact a qualified attorney to seek compensation for the financial damages related to the crash.