A couple of decades ago, you could argue that bicycle accidents weren’t a thing. But fast-forwarding to 2022, an increasing number of people are biking to work. And while there are many reasons for this uptick in bicycle fatalities, one of the most common is dooring.
It occurs when a motorist opens their door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. This can cause cyclists to swerve into traffic and be hit by a car or fall off their bikes.
Dooring is especially dangerous because it often happens at fast speeds, so the cyclist cannot react in time. A car door opening into a bicyclist can cause them to slam into the door and possibly fly from their bicycle which can result in severe bicycle injuries.
And, if the cyclist is thrown into traffic, they’re more likely to be hit by a car going faster than they are. If your bicycle accident was caused by dooring, consider contacting accident injury lawyers. They will be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Now that you understand dooring let’s look at 10 ways of keeping yourself safe while riding a bicycle, including avoiding mishaps due to dooring.
Safety Tips to Follow When Riding a Bicycle
Wear the Right Gear
Wearing the proper gear will help protect you in an accident. Always wear a helmet, even if you’re just riding around the block. A good helmet will protect your head if you fall off your bike or if you’re hit by a car.
You should also wear bright clothing so that drivers can see you. And, wear reflective gear if you’re riding at night.
Other protective gear includes:
- Elbow and knee pads
- Sturdy shoes
Obey the Road Rules
Obeying the rules includes riding in the same direction as traffic and stopping at red lights and stop signs. Adhering to the rules of the road will help keep you safe and make drivers more likely to see you.
Here are some consequences of not following the road rules:
- You might end up in an accident: This includes running into a vehicle or a pedestrian. You might injure your joints like knees or, worse, end up paying for vehicle damage.
- You can be fined: Depending on the state you’re riding in, you could be fined if you don’t follow the road rules.
- You might anger drivers: If you don’t obey the rules, drivers might get angry and try to retaliate. This could result in an accident or, at the very least, a close call.
Use Proper Hand Signals
Using hand signals is a great way to communicate with drivers, especially if you’re making a turn. It’s important to use signals so that drivers know what you’re doing and can react accordingly.
Here are some common hand signals:
- Left turn: Stick your left arm out to the side.
- Right turn: Stick your left arm out to the side and bend it up at the elbow.
- Stopping: Stick your left arm out to the side and point down with your index finger.
- Proceed with caution: Hold your arm out to the side and wave your hand up and down.
Ride in Bike Lanes
Riding in bike lanes will help keep you from traffic and make you more visible to drivers. Just be sure to watch out for cars making right turns into the bike lane.
Being predictable means riding in a straight line and not swerving in and out of traffic. It also means using hand signals if you’re going to turn so that drivers know what you’re doing.
Avoid Riding at Night
It’s much harder for drivers to see you at night, and if there’s no moon, it can be difficult to see the road. If you must ride at night, be sure to wear reflective gear and have a light on your bike.
Riding a bicycle is supposed to be fun. Make sure you follow the tips mentioned above and always be aware of your surroundings to help avoid accidents. And, if you do have an accident, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer.