Our Austin Injury Attorney Offers Cycling Safety Tips
Every day, countless people take to the roads of Texas on bicycles. Some of them use their bikes to cut down on gasoline expenses, some for health, some for fun and some because they don’t have a vehicle. Regardless of the reason, the streets of Austin are constantly filled with bicyclists and pedestrians out enjoying the weather. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that some of these bicyclists will suffer serious injuries at the hands of a negligent motorist.
Trends in Bicycle Accidents
Data compiled by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals that while overall bicycle accident fatalities have decreased dramatically since the 1970s, there are still more than 600 deaths annually around the country, accounting for about 2 percent of the country’s total motor vehicle accidents. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of those killed in bicycle versus car accidents are not wearing helmets. In states like Texas, where there are no helmet laws, fatality rates are significantly higher and helmet use is much lower.
The majority of bicycle accidents occur during the summer months, and more than 25 percent of them involve a bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. More accidents occur in urban areas than in rural ones, due to the high mingling of bicycle and vehicle traffic, particularly in populous areas like Austin, where hundreds of students bike to class every day.
Simple Tips for Staying Safe
There is no single solution to the problem of bicycle accidents and injuries. There are, however, simple actions that both cyclists and motorists can do in order to decrease the chances that an accident will occur.
Bicyclists should always ride with the flow of traffic, stay in the right side of the lane whenever possible (not on the shoulder of the road) and obey traffic control devices like stop signs and lights. Helmets and other protective safety gear can have a huge impact on whether injuries will occur following an accident. Bicyclists can also:
- Wear reflective clothing, or affix glow tape to their bikes
- Use headlights when riding at night
- Avoid weaving in and out of traffic
- Refrain from riding on sidewalks
- Use hand signals to indicate lane changes or turns
Motorists can also do their part to cut down on bicycle accidents, especially given that many of the collisions between cars and bikes occur because the driver never saw the bike. With that in mind, motorists should:
- Check side and rear-view mirrors before pulling into traffic in bike-heavy areas
- Exercise caution while parallel parking
- Obey boundaries of bike lanes
- Be careful to avoid “dooring” a bicyclist
- Proceeding cautiously when making a right-hand turn to avoid cutting off bike lanes
Have you been injured in a bicycle accident? Tragically lost a loved one who was struck by a car while riding? Want to learn more about your legal rights and options? Call our office at (512) 474-8346, or contact our Austin injury lawyer online. We offer a free consultation to anyone who has concerns about the injuries they have suffered.