Bike safety, car accidents, and liability – oh my!

Whether getting our own or our children’s bikes ready for the season, as cyclists, it is important we take some basics steps to help improve the safety and readiness of our bicycles. With the right preparation and awareness, we can significantly reduce the risk of bicycle accidents.

How can I make sure my bike is ready?

If you stored your bike over winter, it probably needs a thorough check to guarantee performance and safety. Even if you didn’t, this can serve as a good time to give your bike a once over and check for any potential issues. The full list of requirements is long, but some of the most important include the following:

  • Inspect. Conduct a detailed inspection of the entire bike, checking for rust, damage, or wear.
  • Inflate. Check and add air into tires to the recommended pressure, which you can find on the tire sidewall.
  • Oil. Lubricate the chain, gears, and all moving parts to ensure smooth operation.
  • Stop. Test the brakes for responsiveness and replace brake pads if they show excessive wear.
  • Fit. Adjust the seat and handlebars to fit your posture and comfort level. This is especially true for our children, who have likely grown since they last time they used their bicycles.

Once your bike is in top shape, make sure to take steps to help reduce the risk of a bike accident. Taking steps to stay visible, like wearing bright, reflective clothing, especially during dawn, dusk, or at night and using front and rear lights on your bike, even during the day, can significantly reduce the risk of a crash.

It is also important to follow traffic laws. Obey all traffic signs and signals as if you were a motor vehicle and signal your turns and intentions to drivers well in advance.

What happens if I am hit by a car or other vehicle?

Although these steps can help reduce the risk of an accident, there are times when a crash is unavoidable. These accidents are often catastrophic, as a vehicle can do significant damage to bicycle and its rider. If the accident is the result of a driver’s negligent or reckless driving, you can likely hold the driver responsible for the accident through a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney experienced in this niche area of the law can review your case and discuss your options.

Cycling in spring and summer is a joy that comes with the duty of self-protection and road-sharing etiquette. A well-maintained bike and a commitment to safe riding can keep you out of harm’s way and within the bounds of the law. Enjoy the ride, and stay safe.


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