While it may be impossible to completely avoid being hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle, there are a few things that cyclists can do to reduce the chances of an accident. Just as motorists are responsible for obeying the rules of the road and driving safely, cyclists should also do all they can to help prevent bicycle accidents from occurring. The following guidelines can help you as a cyclist do your part to keep Ontario roads accident-free.
First, be sure to always follow the rules of the road. In Ontario, bicycles are considered vehicles and must therefore follow the same traffic signs and lane markers as motor vehicles. When possible, cycle in a designated bicycle lane and make sure to always obey traffic signs such as stop signs, traffic lights, one-way signs, etc.
Another important rule to obey is to always ride with the flow of traffic. Always cycle in the same direction as the vehicles around you and never ride against traffic. Riding against traffic can be extremely dangerous and can surprise motorists. The safest place for you to cycle is to the far right side of the road close to the curb.
Also, never pass on the right side because in doing so you may place yourself in the driver’s blind spot and they may not be able to see you or know that you are there. Unexpected movements like passing on the right, place you in serious jeopardy because motorists around you don’t expect you to be in their blind spot. As much as possible, remain visible to the vehicles around you.
Many cyclists today may enjoy listening to music while they ride but this can be very dangerous. By listening to music while you cycle, you are unaware of the traffic sounds around you which can increase the chances of an accident occurring. It is important to always be aware of your surroundings and being able to hear what is going on around you is key. You need to be able to hear a car horn or the voice of a driver so that you know how to respond in a given situation.
In order to be visible to motorists, make sure that you always wear brightly coloured clothing and if you are riding at night, you should wear reflective clothing. By wearing the appropriate clothing, you are ensuring that motorists can see you. If drivers can easily see that a cyclist is nearby, they will be able to exercise caution when driving around you.
If you are cycling in the evening or at night attach a headlight to the front of your bicycle and a red reflector on the back. Again, this is to increase your visibility so that motorists can see you.
One last important tip is to always use the appropriate hand signals to indicate when you are turning. It is important to use this method of communicating to other vehicles on the road. If a driver knows where you intend to go, they will be able to adjust their speed or otherwise prepare.
By taking the necessary safety precautions you can protect yourself and others from dangerous bicycle accidents. If you are looking for legal advice about a bicycle accident, a personal injury lawyer can help. Contact the injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth to see if you have a legal case for your injuries.