In Philadelphia, as well as many other parts of the country, bicycle commuting is on the rise. Not only does this save you time, but it can reduce the financial impact of driving to and from work.
Even if you’re an experienced bicyclist, it’s imperative to remember one thing: There is trouble lurking around every corner.
If you commute to work on your bicycle, here are three safety tips to follow at all times:
- Ride in a designated bicycle lane: If available, you should always ride in a designated bicycle lane. Vehicles and pedestrians are not permitted in these lanes, which enhances your safety and gives you greater peace of mind. If a bicycle lane isn’t available, it’s preferable to drive among motor vehicles. When doing so, be sure to follow the rules of the road, such as obeying all traffic signals.
- Watch for opening doors: Shortly after parking on the side of a road, a driver (and any passengers) will open their door. If they’re not paying attention, they could open the door into your path of travel, thus causing a serious head-on collision. It’s always important to watch for moving vehicles, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore those that are already parked.
- Make eye contact and use body language: Sharing the road with motorists is easier said than done, especially when you consider the fact that some of them don’t care about your safety. By making eye contact and using body language, such as hand signals, you can be clear about your intentions.
Steps to take after a bicycle-car accident
Even if you follow these safety tips, among others, a driver could still cause a bike accident. You should immediately move to safety, if possible, and then call 911 (or ask a witness to do so for you).
Immediate medical treatment is critical, as you could suffer injuries such as broken bones, abrasions, lacerations and head injuries.
Once you understand your injuries and talk to your medical team about your long-term prognosis, turn your attention to the accident. Start by contacting your insurance company, collecting evidence and reviewing the police report. All of these things will lead you toward a plan of action for collecting compensation from the negligent party.