As bicycle safety advocates, we are constantly telling people to wear helmets and other protective gear when riding on the busy streets of Miami — but, although a bicycle helmet may protect you against major head trauma if you are hit by a car, it won’t protect you from getting hit by a car. Our bicycle injury attorneys have put together a list of tips to help you avoid getting hit by a car while riding your bike:
- Get a headlight: If you enjoy riding your bike at dusk or at night, it is important to have a headlight so drivers can see you — having a front headlight at night is actually required by law. But, what many cyclists don’t realize is that headlights shouldn’t only be used to ride at night. A bright headlight during the day can also help motorists see you coming. We recommend purchasing a new LED headlight because they last ten times longer than the older style lights.
- Wave, yell or honk your horn: As corny as that sounds, it is important to make drivers see you when they are pulling out of a side street, parking lot or driveway. Even though you may feel awkward or embarrassed to yell or wave your hands, it is better to be embarrassed than to be hit. If you feel uncomfortable yelling, you can always put a horn or set of bells on your bike to be used under these circumstances. Many countries actually require bicycles to have bells, but the U.S. does not.
- Slow down: If you are unsure if a driver sees you coming when he or she is about to pull out of a space or make a right hand turn, take precaution and slow down. Even if you have to stop completely, do it. This could save you from being hit.
- Ride to the left: We have all been taught to ride as far right as possible to stay clear of vehicles. But, next time you are driving your car, you may notice that you are constantly looking forward and checking for other vehicles, but you may not be looking close to the curb for bicyclists. If you ride closer to a driver, you may be more visible, and you will have more room to swerve out the way if you need to. By riding far enough to the left, you may also avoid being hit by a vehicle door that is opened unexpectedly.
- Ride in the bicycle lane and not on the sidewalk: Bike lane were created for a reason. You should always avoid riding on the sidewalk and crossing the street in the crosswalk, because drivers won’t be expecting you there. Drivers that are making a right turn may not see you coming and may turn right into you. Plus, riding on a sidewalk increases your risk of being hit by the door of a parked car and/or colliding with pedestrians.
- Never ride against traffic: Although you may be able to see the vehicles coming, riding against traffic puts bicycle riders at risk of being hit by a car that is pulling out of a driveway or making a right turn, because they will not be looking for you. A driver only expects traffic (vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians) to be going with the flow of traffic, so he or she may hit you when pulling out to make a right turn without checking for you.
- Don’t wait at a red light in a driver’s blind spot: When you are waiting at a red light, you should avoid stopping in a car’s blind spot, because if he or she is making a right turn and the light turns green, he or she may go and run right into you if you go at the same time. The blind spot is next to the vehicle. You should always wait behind the vehicle so he or she is sure to see you.
For more information about bicycle safety or to speak with a Miami bicycle accident lawyer about a possible accident claim, contact Baron & Herskowitz.