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Preventing Bicycle Accidents

You may not be able to prevent someone else’s negligence, but you can control your own behavior. Additionally, you can take certain precautions to help prevent bicycle accidents – both before and during your ride.

We’ve gathered some tips and tricks from around the web to help you make the most of your bicycle adventure and prioritize safety, every step of the way.

Step 1: Choose the Right Bike

Ride a bike that fits you and is in good working order. If your bike is too big, you won’t be able to control it, and if your brakes don’t work, an accident is almost inevitable. The top bar of your bike should be 1 or 2 inches below you while standing, and your seat should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when your leg is fully extended.

Before setting off, inflate your tires and check that your brakes are working.

Step 2: Dress for the Occasion

The most important accessory when riding a bike is a bicycle helmet! Your helmet should be certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and fit snugly on your head. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a great guide for choosing and fitting your bicycle helmet.

You should always wear a helmet, and depending on when you ride, you should dress for the occasion. Wear bright colors during the day and reflective clothing at night. You may also want to consider putting a white front light, a red rear light, flashing lights, and reflectors directly on your bicycle.

Choose the correct shoes (no flip flops or heels) and make sure to tuck and tie your pant legs so they don’t get caught in your bike chain.

Step 3: Plan Ahead

Riding at night is more dangerous than riding during the day, so plan to ride when the sun is out. You can also plan your route ahead of time and choose the safest places to ride. If driving as a vehicle on the road, choose roads with lower speed limits and less traffic. If you can, avoid traffic altogether and ride in a bike lane, on a bike path, or on a trail.

Some places allow riding on the sidewalk and others do not. Make sure you know what you can and cannot do by reviewing Maryland bicycle laws and local ordinances before you head out.

Whether you’re bringing snacks and water or planning to do some shopping while you’re out, make sure you carry all items in a backpack, bike basket, or rear rack.

Step 4: Drive Defensively

When you ride your bicycle in Maryland, you have the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle. Drive-in with the flow, in the same direction as traffic, and be sure to follow all the rules of the road and obey all street signs, signals, and markings. Always assume the other driver doesn’t see you and stay alert so you can anticipate hazards. You will need to watch out for potholes, pebbles, debris, grates, and train tracks, as well as other vehicles on the road.

To keep your full attention on the road, avoid using electronic devices or wearing headphones. Never ride a bicycle after drinking alcohol or using drugs.

Step 5: Prepare for the Worst

Even with the best-laid plans and precautions, bicycle accidents can and do happen. If you are following all our safety tips, however, the accident is unlikely to be your fault.

The Law Office of Robert Castro, P.A. is here to help when you’ve been harmed by someone else’s carelessness.

Save our phone number – (301) 870-1200 – and if you get hurt in a bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to give us a call or contact us online.

Sources (click to learn more)

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