Staying Safe on 2 Wheels

For several years now, Miami has consistently ranked #1 as Florida’s most dangerous city for riding a bicycle.  In fact, over the past 10 years, the city has average roughly 4,200 accidents annually where cyclists sustained injuries.  At least 100 of them have been fatal.  Naturally, bicycle safety advocates and traffic experts are continually urging all bicyclists to wear a protective helmet whenever they go out riding.

The following is a list of safety tips that might just lower your risk of getting involved in an accident and even save your life in the process:

Avoid roads with numerous parking lot exits – granted, there are enough dangers that you need to be aware of, but this is one that is oftentimes overlooked.  If you can, travel on a route that is less-direct but with fewer parking area exits.  If for some reason you’re unable to do this, stay off the sidewalks and ride your bicycle in the road while at the same time following all the applicable laws.

Exercise caution with vehicles that turn left – this tip applies whenever you have arrived at an intersection.  Don’t attempt creeping out into an intersection just because you want to get a head start or when the light hasn’t turned green yet.  If by some chance, you have entered the intersection and a vehicle turns left in front of you, turn with them into the lane they’re in until you can safely resume your course.

Look behind you on a frequent basis – you may need to practice looking over your shoulder to get the hang of this while maintaining your balance and not swerving.  If you are riding in traffic on a regular basis, you should mount a side view mirror on one of your handlebars to ensure being able to see who is driving their vehicle behind you.

Watch out for people opening their vehicle doors – whenever you are out riding your bike, you should be mindful of your surroundings, especially when someone is parallel parking.  Maintaining a distance of no less than 3 feet from parked vehicles is advisable.  However, you should still be prepared to stop if you see someone opening their vehicle door in order to avoid getting injured.

Wear bright clothing whenever you go out riding – make yourself as visible as you possibly can, especially if you are riding after sunset.  Reflective safety vests provide maximum visibility in the evenings, but it doesn’t hurt to wear one no matter what time of day or night you are riding.  In addition to the reflectors on your bike, you should install flashing lights so you’re even more visible.

Remember, the goal is to avoid becoming a bicycle accident statistic.  However, if you sustain injuries in an accident with a motorist, you should first get medical attention and then contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you are able to do so.

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