Riding a bicycle has been one of my greatest joys from childhood. It is hard not to like bikes. When you were young, you rode for freedom, to school, to a friend’s house, or for an adventure. Later, bike riding became exercise. Some brought it to adulthood and biked to work. One brother-in-law has been commuting to work by bicycle, exclusively, for at least 10 years – rain or shine. My sister and other brother-in-law don’t own a car and rely exclusively on bicycles for transportation.
Bikes are everywhere
Right now there is a nationwide shortage of available. It is a huge resurgence of interest in bicycling. Many communities have bike share companies making bicycling available to more and more people. Many communities are rethinking roadways and traffic patterns to include bike lanes.
Give Three Feet – It is the Law!
Connecticut General Statute Section 14-232 requires Connecticut motorists to allow at least three feet of separation when overtaking and passing cyclists. Failure to do so could cause motorists to receive a fine under the motor vehicle code “failure to grant the right of way to a bicycle.”
Because of the large disparities in size, weight and speed between bicycles and motor vehicles, cyclists are at a tremendous disadvantage in the result of a collision with a car or truck. This law strives to increase motorist awareness of bicycles, and to make conditions safer by preventing collisions.
Inattentive Riding/Driving. Just as drivers are more distracted by devices in their cars, so are bicyclists. When you are on your bike, you never want to take your eyes of the road in front of you. However, too many cyclists are looking down at their smartphones, iPods, or other mobile technology while riding. Texting, emailing, web surfing, and other mobile device usage while in motion has become a serious public health threat.
Speed Too Fast. While bicyclists typically don’t ride at the speed of cars, that doesn’t mean they should ride as fast as possible. Serious injuries and deaths can be linked to the speed of travel. Other vehicles on the road, the terrain, road conditions, and weather conditions are all factors should be taken into account when determine a safe speed to travel while riding.
Riding too Close to a Lane of Motor Vehicle Traffic. Drivers should leave at least three feet from the widest point of both their vehicle and the bicycle. Although it is the law in Connecticut, bicyclists should never assume cars will leave them plenty of space to safely operate their vehicle. It can be safer to use a shoulder lane or sidewalk than the right edge of a roadway. It’s also important to know which stretches of highways and freeway prohibit cyclists.
Intersection or Lane Merging. Bicyclists must obey traffic lights and stop signs and use signals when turning. Too many cyclists are lost each year due to failing to follow the rules of the road.
Sidewalk, Parking Lot, and Driveways. Sidewalks, parking lot lanes, and driveways tend to be more confined than roads so there can be less time to avoid an accident and a higher risk of incident. Riding in these areas requires extra caution and a pro-active approach to foresee what may happen. You never want to assume a car is stop when they should or is going to see you. Some cities have banned cycling on the sidewalk.
How to Reduce Your Risk of a Bike Accident
However, by taking safety precautions such as:
- Always wearing a helmet
- Wearing bright clothing
- Using front and rear lights
- Using reflecting material at night
- Keeping your distance from vehicles and other objects
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, call Attorney John Radshaw in New Haven today at (203) 654-9695. It’s important consult with an experienced personal injury attorney promptly to protect your legal rights and take the critical steps needed to pursue a personal injury claim. For more information about Attorney Radshaw and his practice, visit www.jjr-esq.com.