Fall is about to arrive in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Area. I have previously blogged concerning safety tips for bicyclists and believe that with the change in seasons that this is a good time to do so, once again. Those of us who are bicyclists need to take extra precautions as daylight decreases and the need to be observant and observed increases.
In fact, a study published tin the September 1, 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and cited in a recent Science Daily posting indicates that bicycle injuries during the 15 year period from 1998 through 2013 increased substantially.
I am listing a number of suggestions for a safer ride. Anything that a bicyclist can do to be more visible to drivers, other riders and pedestrians should help to decrease the likelihood of collisions and injuries.
- Have a front light and back light that blinks and have them on at all times, not only at dawn, dusk, evening or night.
- Wear a helmet, not just any helmet, but a helmet with bright colors. Wear one which is not as likely to blend in with the environment lime green, loud red, orange, yellow to name a few, preferably neon.
- Wear bright-colored clothing including reflective gloves. If you do not have bright clothing or a light-colored jacket, invest in a fluorescent vest, similar to those that construction workers use. You can pick one up for just a few dollars at a local sports or hardware store, or at a minimum use reflective tape on your clothing or jacket.
- Make sure that you have reflectors on the spokes.
- If you do not have lights, don’t ride on cloudy days, night, at sunset or sunrises.
- If you don’t have lights, make sure that you do have reflectors under the seat or if you have a rack, at the end of the rack furthest back from the seat. You should also have front and side reflectors.
- Do not ride against traffic-you are not where a driver is likely to anticipate your presence thus increasing the risk of collision.
- Ride where drivers, other bicyclists and pedestrians expect bicycle traffic such as dedicated bicycle lanes and trails whenever possible.
- If it is raining, think like a driver and use your front and back lights. Don’t forget the yellow rain coat similar to what you wore as a child but with modern materials.
- Equip your bicycle with a bell in good working condition. Indiana requires that all bicycles have bells or audible devices that can be heard for at least 100 feet.
Similar and other suggested actions that may lower incidents of bicycle injuries are listed in a posting from the Center for Disease Control.
Burton A. Padove is located near the Indiana-Illinois border in Highlnd, Indiana and is licensed in both states. He has been practicing law for over 33 years, is an avid cyclist and uses his personal and legal experience in representing bicycle and other injury victims throughout the States of Indiana and Illinois including Lake, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Porter and Cook Counties. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident or due to a defective bicycle call (219) 836 2200.