There’s nothing like a fun bike ride on a sunny day when the breeze is just right and the air is clear. Cycling is an exciting, healthy activity that the entire family can enjoy; unfortunately, it is not risk free, and cyclists usually end up on the losing side when they get into accidents. Bike riding in New Orleans can be a unique way to see the city, but it can also end tragically if you don’t take a few safety precautions.
RELATED POST: What to do after a bike accident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cyclists die at double the rate of motorists on a per trip basis. Yup, cycling has the potential to be that dangerous! As cycling becomes more accessible thanks to New Orleans Bike Share programs, here’s what you need to know to keep yourself safe on the road.
The Five Most Common Types of Bicycle Car Accidents
Because of these scary statistics on bike accidents, we are sharing five common scenarios, identified by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that lead to bicyclist accidents with cars. Check them out below.
1. Should cyclists ride against traffic?
A Hunter College study found that 13 percent of cyclists ride against traffic. This is dangerous because oncoming motorists do not expect cyclists to approach them. Instead, cyclist should always travel in the same direction as motorists to reduce the risk of bicycle accidents. Although this can be difficult to do on some of New Orleans’ crazy streets, it’s a crucial part of staying safe while cycling.
Check out this great list of bike paths New Orleans has to boast to find a safer alternative to riding on the road!
2. Is it okay to enter a road without looking first when cycling?
Cyclists should always slow down and survey traffic before entering a road. A cyclist who enters a road without looking may leave an approaching motorist with no time to avoid a crash.
3. Stop lights don’t matter for cyclist if there’s no traffic coming, right?
We all know that the stoplights in New Orleans don’t always work like they should. However, just like motor-vehicle drivers, cyclists who are riding on the road are always required to stop when they reach a stop sign or red traffic light. The Hunter College study found that only 43 percent of cyclists stop at red lights.
4. Do I have to wear bright colors when cycling?
The NHTSA warns that motorists occasionally turn across the paths of cyclists. This often occurs when a driver does not see a cyclist. Bikers can prevent this scenario by wearing reflective clothing to improve their visibility. Keeping with the local character, bikes New Orleans are often decorated so that they are one of a kind creations that are also highly visible to motorists. residents’ decorate their bikes New Orleans-style while also remaining highly visible to motorists.
5. What should a driver do when there’s not enough space on a road?
Drivers should never try to overtake cyclists when they cannot leave enough space between their vehicles and the bikers. These accidents are common on narrow roads, and they often involve distracted drivers. In cities like New Orleans, with narrow streets and not many bike paths, it is especially crucial that cyclists keep an eye on cars approaching from behind so they can ride defensively.
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What can cyclists do to prevent a bicycle accident?
As you can see from the five scenarios above, a bicycle crash can happen at any time. Additionally, these same common situations can also lead to bicycle on bicycle accidents as cycling becomes more common. If you ride often, it is particularly important that you are proactive about safety. Here are a few more tips to help you avoid accidents and injuries:
Wear a helmet with a Department of Transportation or Snell Memorial Foundation certification.
- Never ride on the sidewalk.
- Ride in the middle of the lane rather than next to the curb.
- Take an advanced bicycle safety course; and
- Perform pre-ride inspections.
In New Orleans and other cities, bike rental companies are popping up everywhere. If you rent a bicycle from a company like Blue Bikes, be sure to inspect the bike before you ride it to make sure it’s in good working order.
Bicycle Safety Tips for Motorists
Drivers should be just as proactive as cyclists to prevent collisions. Keeping in mind that bicyclists and motorists have both the same rights and responsibilities, here are some tips for motorists to help keep cyclists safe:
- Always keep a lookout for bikes when you are driving, especially at stop signs or when backing up in a parking lot.
- Do not underestimate a bicycle’s speed and take the time to yield to bikes.
- Follow the speed limit and drive defensively when you see a bike.
- Check behind your vehicle before making a turn to ensure that a cyclist is not approaching the same intersection.
- Give bikes room on the road. If you need to pass a bicycle, follow the same rule you would if you were passing a car: don’t pass until there is plenty of room to do so safely.
Have you or someone you love been injured in a New Orleans bicycle accident?
Unfortunately, defensive cycling techniques won’t prevent all collisions. Even if you practice these techniques, you may still be involved in a wreck due to a driver’s negligence. If you were injured in a bicycle accident in Louisiana, call today to schedule a free initial consultation with an accident attorney from Morris Bart, LLC. An attorney at Morris Bart experienced in bike accident law will assist you in the evaluation process. Initial consultations are FREE and we work on a contingency-fee basis. Click here to see more about our office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Call us at 800-537-8185 today.