Staying Safe While Bicycling

The summer months bring not only sweltering heat to the Kansas plains but also bicyclists to Kansas roadways. Whether they participating in a marathon ride across the entire state or simply getting some exercise on the open roads, motorists will certainly begin to share the road with an increasing number of bicyclists in the coming months. Even rural roads and highways are not immune from this phenomenon. With the increased number of individuals riding bicycles on Kansas roads comes (of course) an increased risk of a bicycle crash.

Bicycle accidents can be catastrophic for the bicyclist when he or she is struck by a car, truck, or some other motor vehicle. Serious injuries – even death – have occurred as the result of an otherwise low-speed collision between a motor vehicle and a bicyclist. While nothing a bicyclist does can prevent all accidents from occurring, there are steps that bicyclists can take to reduce the chance of suffering a fatal or catastrophic injury in the event of a crash:

  1. Always wear your helmet! Wearing a properly-fitted and approved bicycle helmet can drastically reduce the chances of suffering a serious head injury in a bicycle accident. (A helmet does little good, however, if it is not properly-fitted or is not of an approved construction.) You should don your helmet before you take to the road and keep the helmet on any time you are on your bike, even if you are pulled off on the side of the road to take a brake.
  2. Wear highly-visible attire. You need to make yourself visible to motorists, especially if you are cycling on open rural roads where motorists are less likely to be paying attention. Make sure to wear bright, visible colors and to have reflectors on your bicycle. If you are riding at night, wear reflective clothing and use a headlamp and tail lamp on your bicycle. Some individuals even place flags on their bikes. Anything you can do to draw a motorist’s attention to you is beneficial.
  3. Obey the rules of the road. Reduce the likelihood of a bicycle collision by following the rules of the road. Do not cut in front of other motorists and proceed at a safe speed for the prevailing conditions. Before stopping or turning, provide a hand signal or other visible signal so that other motorists know your intentions. Ride defensively and be observant of the movement of traffic around you. Do not ride while distracted (i.e., with headphones or while texting), especially in congested areas. If you are riding alongside traffic, do not linger in a vehicle’s “blind spot.”
  4. Carry “crash essentials.” If you are involved in a bicycle crash and you are far from home, it would be very helpful for you to have a first aid kit and a charged cell phone at your disposal. You may also wish to include other “survival-type” gear as part of your “crash kit” in case you are stranded for a period of time. Also include a notebook and small camera (if your phone does not have a camera) so you can take pictures of your injuries and the accident scene if you are involved in a crash.

Finally, as soon as possible following your bicycle crash, contact Michael Lawless, a seasoned Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney for assistance. Mr. Lawless will take the information available about your accident and help you determine your legal rights. He is a zealous advocate who helps is clients pursue compensation for their injuries following bicycle accidents and other personal injury accidents caused by others. You can reach the office of Michael R. Lawless by calling (800) 734-3771.