Traffic and Bicycle Laws and Best Practices
Whether traveling by truck, car or bike, we are all taking a risk to our personal safety on the road. Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable, since they lack the protection a passenger vehicle provides. Bicycling is a fun and an environmentally-friendly alternative to driving a vehicle. At Wilson Law PA, we want all bicyclists to be safe and injury-free, so here are a few safety tips to keep in mind before you hit the road:
Observe All Traffic Laws
According to the DOT, bicycles are legally recognized as vehicles in NC and are expected to follow the same rules of the road as a car or truck. Obey traffic signals, signs and always ride on the right side of the road. Bicyclists are also expected to yield to vehicles and pedestrians in certain situations. Laws vary by state and you can find this information by contacting your local DMV.
Communicating with fellow travelers can prevent accidents and bicyclists are expected to use hand signals when making a turn or stopping. These hand signals are also used by motorists in the event of broken signals.
● Right Turn – Hand and arm pointed up at a 90 degree angle
● Left Turn – Hand and arm horizontally.
● Stop – Hand and arm pointed down at a 90 degree angle.
Helmets are essential to your safety and should be worn while riding a bike even if it’s not required by law in your state. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that helmet use reduces the risk of head injury in an accident by 85%. You should equip your bicycle with lights and reflectors so you can be seen at night. It’s also advisable to wear brightly colored clothing to increase your visibility on the road.
Use Your Best Judgment
Even the safest, most experienced bicyclists make mistakes or fall victim to careless drivers or damaged roadways. Laws vary by state when it comes to riding a bike under the influence, but is always best to remain sober before riding. Plan your route ahead of time and try to avoid high-traffic areas. Use bicycle lanes and designated trails if they are available.
At Wilson Law PA, we hope you will do everything in your power to prevent an accident. Should you get into a bicycle accident through no fault of your own, please contact us for a free consultation. Our team of personal injury attorneys have years of experience and we want to help you get back to riding your bike as soon as possible!