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As Bicycle Trips Gain Popularity, So Do Crash Reports

Steve Wagner

When the late-winter weather begins to warm up, Indiana residents are increasingly bicycling to commute to work, for exercise, or just for fun. By law, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. Unfortunately, bicycle safety is something that can easily be overlooked. As more and more cyclists hit the road, reports of crashes between them and motor vehicles also increases.

In 2014, 726 people lost their lives in bicycle vs. motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. This is a slight decline from 2013, when 749 were killed – the highest number of fatalities since 2006, when 772 were killed, and a major increase from the 682 bicyclist fatalities reported in 2011. These numbers represent just over two percent of the total number of people killed and injured in traffic crashes in 2014.

JUST LIKE CAR ACCIDENTS, BIKE CRASHES ARE PREVENTABLE

It is important for both bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers to be aware, alert, and attentive to keep everyone traveling on Indiana roadways safe.

If you are a rider, follow these suggested safety tips.

  • Wear a bike helmet and protective gear. Make sure clothing and bikes are visible to others. The use of reflective gear, and a front and rear light is a preventative safety measure. All should be equipped on a bike for nighttime riding.
  • It is illegal in Indiana to ride on anything other than the bike seat. It is also illegal to sit more than one person per bike unless there are more seats or special equipment attached. Bike riders cannot carry anything if it prevents them from having both hands on the handlebar.
  • Use hand signals and try to make eye contact with cars before making turns.
  • Ride with car and truck traffic and not against it.
  • Obey street signs, signals, and road markings, just like a car.
  • Assume the other person doesn’t see you so look ahead for hazards or situations to avoid that may cause you to fall like wild animals, trash, rocks, potholes, and grates or train tracks.
  • No texting, listening to music or using anything that distracts you by taking your focus off the road.

If you are a car or truck driver, share the road and follow these rules for keeping bicyclists safe.

  • Don’t be a distracted driver and engage in activity that could divert attention away from driving. All distractions endanger drivers, passengers, and bystanders (like bicyclists).
  • Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
  • In parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.
  • Drivers turning right on red should look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.
  • Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and follow the law to avoid a crash.
  • Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely.

Before you head out on your next outdoor adventure, review and share our Indiana bicycle and pedestrian safety infographic.

Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your personal injury or bicycle accident claim with years of experience and proven results. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today (888) 204-8440for your FREE consultation!

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