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Spring Is on The Way: Things Bicyclists Can Do to Keep Themselves Safe

| Category: Bicycle Accidents | February 29, 2024

For many Marylanders, springtime means enjoying the fresh air and sunshine while riding a bicycle. Unfortunately, bicycling is an inherently dangerous activity. Statistics compiled by the Maryland Department of Transportation report that there is a 5-year average of 759 bicycle accidents per year, which includes 612 injury crashes and 10 fatalities. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights and your options. 

Wear a Helmet

This may seem obvious, but wearing a helmet is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself safe. Maryland law requires anyone under the age of 16 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle on the road, on bike paths, or on public property. The helmet must meet or exceed industry safety standards for bicycle helmets. Regardless of what the law may say, a helmet can protect you from suffering a concussion, skull fracture, or other traumatic brain injury in the event that you are injured in an accident. An entry-level helmet can be purchased for around $45, making it one of the most cost-effective pieces of safety equipment. 

Be Visible

Another thing you can do to protect yourself while riding is to make yourself more visible. High-visibility clothing such as neon green or orange helps you stand out to drivers. Blinking red tail lights and high-lumen LED headlights are essential if riding at dusk or in the dark, but can also increase visibility during the day and in the event of inclement weather. Reflectors and reflective clothing also help at night, especially when they are on parts of your bike or yourself that are moving while you are riding. 

Be Predictable

Bicycles are subject to the same laws as any other motor vehicle. As a result, bicycle riders should refrain from running stop signs and stop lights and always ride with the direction of traffic. Use hand signals to indicate your turns so that drivers can anticipate what you are doing. You must stay as far to the right as possible when riding on a roadway, and you must ride on the shoulder of any road where the speed limit is 50 miles per hour or higher. 

Use the Bike Lane

Maryland law requires bicycle riders to use the designated bike lane when they are present unless the following exceptions apply: 

  • They are passing another bicycle or pedestrian in the bike lane
  • They are preparing to make a left turn at an intersection
  • There is debris in the bike lane or some other hazard
  • There is a right-turn lane, merge lane, or other road feature that terminates or interrupts the bike lane

Leave the Earbuds Out

You need to be able to hear cars approaching from behind. Even at low volume, using earbuds limits your ability to hear approaching cars, emergency vehicles, and other hazards. Enjoy your ride without your music and podcasts and arrive at your destination safely. 

Be Careful When Passing Parked Cars

One of the most common types of bicycle accidents is known as “dooring.” This is when someone in a parked car, either the driver or a passenger, opens the door of a parked vehicle into the path of an oncoming bicycle rider. The rider is then either forced out into traffic or into a collision with the open door. In either scenario, the rider is at risk of suffering serious injuries as a result of the accident. Riders should therefore be wary of passing parked cars. If possible, give them enough space so that you can avoid an accident should someone suddenly open the door. Otherwise, keep an eye out for people sitting in parked cars who may suddenly open the door and be prepared to stop quickly. 

Think Carefully About Where You Ride

While more and more bicycling infrastructure is being developed, the fact remains that many areas are unsafe for riding. Riders should choose bicycle-friendly routes that use roads with low traffic, wide shoulders, and good visibility. Riders should be especially careful in areas with heavy traffic and multi-lane intersections. 

Injured in a Bicycle Accident? Call Personal Injury Attorney Thomas E. Pyles

A bicycle accident can change your life forever. If you or someone you love has been hit by a car while riding, The Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles can help you hold the driver accountable. To discuss your case and your right to compensation, contact us today at  301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation.