For all vehicle types to coexist on public roads, everyone must take precautions. Motorists must watch out for cyclists, while cyclists should do their part to make sure drivers can see them.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, low visibility is the second most common factor in fatal bike crashes. You can make yourself visible to motorists by using the correct equipment and following traffic laws.
Wear high-visibility gear
Poor lighting is a common factor in bicycle fatalities. You can reduce the risk by wearing reflective clothing, such as a safety vest or patches.
High-visibility clothing and accessories can help you stay safe during the day as well. Even if you never venture out at night, you should dress to make yourself visible to drivers.
Use lights and reflectors
California law requires cyclists to use lights and reflectors when cycling in the dark, including:
- A headlight with a visibility distance of at least 300 feet
- A red rear light or reflector visible from at least 500 feet
- White or yellow reflectors on your pedals or shoes
- Reflectors on the wheels or tires
If your bike lacks these features, you may receive a fine.
Stay in your lane
If there is no bike lane, ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic. Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in many cities within Los Angeles County, and it can be dangerous at intersections. Motorists do not expect to encounter cyclists on the sidewalk, so they are less likely to notice you.
Many fatal crashes happen because a motorist failed to notice a cyclist until it was too late. Using safety equipment and following the rules of the road can prevent a tragic accident.