Due to the growing number of vehicles on the road, it should not be a surprise that car accidents involving bicycles are becoming more prevalent. In 2016, one bicyclist was either injured or killed every 10.2 hours in the state of Wisconsin. Due to the large size and weight of motor vehicles, bicyclists can suffer serious injuries when struck by a car or truck. Even though a cyclist has the same rights as any other vehicle, a rider may want to consider these safety tips before hitting the road:
Obey Traffic Laws
While children who are learning to ride bikes and are being supervised by adults may ride on sidewalks, most cyclists should ride on the road and obey traffic laws. Depending on the community you are in, sidewalk riding may be illegal for certain ages and areas. Before a bicyclist begins riding in the street, it is important to know the rules that should be followed. In Wisconsin, a cyclist must:
- Ride at least three feet from the curb, parked vehicles, or debris on the side of the road.
- Ride in a straight line without swerving in and out of parked vehicles.
- Always ride in the same direction as traffic.
Cyclists must also follow traffic laws that apply to vehicles on the road. For example, bikes must stop at red lights, lane splitting is prohibited, and distracting driving is not allowed. Cyclists can help avoid accidents by observing their surroundings and following the law.
Understand Proper Lane Usage
Thinking of a bike as a motor vehicle can help a person adjust to riding in the street. Depending on the type of lane the rider is in, his or her obligations may change. If a bicycle is traveling in a narrow lane, the rider should operate within the center of the lane, at least three feet from the curb or parked vehicles. In a wide lane, the cyclist should ride just to the right of traffic rather than alongside the curb. The reason three feet should separate a bicyclist from a parked car is to ensure that the rider does not get struck by a car door opening or closing.
Bike riding injuries are common due to the lack of protection a rider has in a collision with a larger vehicle. By wearing a helmet and protective arm and knee pads, a cyclist may limit the amount of damage that can take place. In addition, dressing for the time of day is very important. Bright colors should be worn during the day, while reflective items should be worn at night. A bicycle should be equipped with a headlight and taillight to increase visibility to cars.
Contact a Green Bay, WI Auto Accident Attorney
Even when bicyclists take care to follow the rules of the road and wear protective equipment, they can be seriously injured due to the negligence of motor vehicles. If you have been injured in a bike accident, you may need extensive medical treatment, and you may suffer other financial damages. At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries that will ensure that you are able to make a full recovery. To arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced Appleton, WI bicycle accident lawyers, contact our office at 920-739-7366.