Bicycle accident injuries can occur in a split second, just like an auto accident, but certain behaviors practiced by the cyclist or the driver of the motor vehicle involved in the accident can impact whether the collision occurs at all. There are also factors outside of a bicyclist’s control that may affect the likelihood of an accident occurring. But by taking precautions, keeping your eyes open, and simply being smart, you can protect yourself from injury or death.
Here are some of the most common causes of bicycle accident injuries in Michigan and nationwide:
- Poor Bicycle Helmet Use
There is no law in Michigan that requires bicyclists to wear a helmet, but bicycle riders increase their chances of a head injury or traumatic brain injury by neglecting to wear a helmet. If you are making sure your child is properly equipped with safety equipment before getting on a bicycle, do the same service for yourself and wear a properly fitted helmet every time you ride.
- Nighttime Cycling
There are certainly times of day that are more favorable to bike riders. Getting on two wheels during daylight hours will reduce your risk of being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. If you must get on your bicycle at night, be sure to take all precautions to increase rider visibility by wearing reflective clothing and affixing lights to your bike.
- Off-Lane Bicycle Riding
Where you choose to ride affects the probability of getting into an accident. Ideally, you are riding within bike lanes that are clearly marked. If your route takes you onto less-traveled roads or narrower highways that do not have designated bike lanes, it’s essential to be extra-careful about your surroundings and the cars zooming by you – you cannot trust that the motor vehicle operators will all be cautious enough to keep you safe.
Every cyclist has to start somewhere, but the more inexperienced you are as a bicycle ride right alongside motor vehicles, the greater your chances of being involved in an accident. Practice, study, and memorize the rules of the road, especially if you are a newbie bicyclist. Veteran bicycle riders have the benefit of familiarity with the roads they travel and the rules that govern them, as well as the ability to make better quick decisions in a critical situation.
- Smartphone Usage
Bicyclists in Michigan are not legally prevented from using a cell phone while they cycle. As a result, some cyclists do use their smartphone while riding their bicycle, and this distraction can lead to preventable accidents with another cyclist, pedestrians, and motor vehicles. Likewise, drivers operating a motor vehicle are equally distracted by their own cell phone usage, which can easily lead to an accident with a bicyclist who goes unseen.
You shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car when intoxicated, and you shouldn’t hop on your bike and pedal away if you’ve had anything to drink. Your judgment, biking skills, awareness, and reflexes will all be tremendously dulled, which means a collision with a motor vehicle or a solo biking accident is far more likely.
- Poorly Maintained Roads
Even if you avoid roads that are lacking bike lanes, that doesn’t ensure safety. Poorly maintained roads make bicycle riding dangerous for Michigan cyclists. Be especially careful in the winter and spring when weather conditions produce potholes galore, as well as other cracks and drop-offs in the roads.
Christensen Law – Your Michigan Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you live in an area where you are able to ride a bicycle to get around, you probably consider yourself fortunate to have this option. But even though biking is a healthier and cheaper alternative to driving to and from your destinations, it carries with it its own element of danger and risk. Being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle while on your bicycle can be fatal, or result in incredibly serious and life-threatening injuries. More information on bike safety is available at the Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a bicycle accident injuries in Michigan, visit an experienced personal injury attorney who gets the kind of case results that will fully compensate you for your injuries. Hire veteran Michigan bicycle accident attorney David Christensen to handle your case.