New York City is home to thousands of people who choose to ride their bicycles to work or school in an effort to save gas money, be environmentally friendly and get more exercise.
Of course, there are some hazards that come with biking in the city, especially in some of the denser areas.
We would like to share a few effective strategies bike riders can use to improve their safety when riding around the Big Apple.
Always follow all the rules of the road
Even though you are much slower and more vulnerable while on a bike compared to the drivers of motor vehicles, you have equal rights and responsibilities on the road. This means you are responsible for following all the same rules of the road while on your bike as you would while driving a car.
You should always ride with the flow of traffic, as numerous studies have revealed you are much less likely to get hit from behind than head-on. This also makes you more predictable to motorists, as you are following the same path as them, and it also gives drivers more time to notice you as they approach, especially near intersections.
You should always ride in a straight line and avoid weaving in and out of traffic. Additionally, use hand signals to show your turning or stopping intentions, just as you would use a turn signal while behind the wheel of a car. This helps to keep other people on the road alert to your actions.
Finally, obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings—and be sure to yield to traffic or pedestrians whenever is appropriate. Again, you are responsible for following the same rules as other vehicles.
Make yourself as visible as possible
You should always be focused on making sure everyone else on the road can see you and know where you are at all times. This means riding in a way that is predictable, while also taking steps to improve your visibility.
For example, if you are riding your bike in the early morning, late afternoon or evening, you should add headlights and taillights to your bike, use reflectors and wear brightly colored clothing or reflective materials.
Keep an eye out for hazards
At any time, a hazard could appear in the road that could cause you to tumble to the pavement. Keep an eye out for rocks, trash, storm grates, potholes, railroad tracks, gravel or debris, as well as any parked cars, open doors or pedestrians.
In addition, eliminate any hazards that would be caused by your own actions. You should never, for example, wear headphones while biking, or try to talk on your cell phone. Keep your hands on the handlebars and your attention on the road.
Finally, watch out for any vehicles that are about to turn. Most accidents between cars and bikes happen at intersections, with motorists attempting to turn in front of bicyclists. Be aware of your visibility and try to determine if the driver attempting to turn sees you approaching.
These are just a few strategies that can help keep you safe as a bicyclist in New York City. And if you’ve been injured in a crash you believe was the result of negligence, speak with an experienced bike accident attorney at Robinson & Yablon.