More and more Californians are choosing to ride their bikes for errands, to and from work, and for pleasure. Cyclists and motorists need to be aware of each other; motorists need to learn to treat cyclists with the same amount of respect they give to other motor vehicles. Cyclists need to understand that they also need to abide by the rules of the road to avoid collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two percent of all traffic deaths were cyclists in 2014. Since a cyclist is more vulnerable than a passenger in a car, a collision can cause serious injuries or even death.

Be safe when you ride! Here are some tips to ensure harmony with cars and other motor vehicles on the road.

Wear a Helmet.

Helmets are for every bike ride, not just long ones or rides that take you through heavy traffic. Helmets are an essential piece of equipment. Take the time to find a helmet that fits perfectly, which will ensure your head is protected in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle.

Ride Defensively.

Always be alert and aware of the traffic and do your best to anticipate what a driver may do before they do it — which is a tip that applies to being a safe driver too. If you can see a potential collision before it happens, you will be able to avoid it. So, this means you need to make sure you’re riding with traffic, never against it. Also pay attention to the road in front of you, to avoid any debris or uneven pavement. And stay off of your phone! Don’t text, talk or even listen to music while cycling on a roadway. These are distractions drivers face too, and if you’re cycling you need to be extra vigilant.

Road Signs Apply to Cyclists too!

As a cyclist, you are responsible for stopping at stop signs and red lights, and slowing down your speed when the light is yellow. You cannot safely coast through an intersection. Think about it: drivers anticipate that other cars will stop at stop signs. If you coast through, you have a high probability of being hit by a car that doesn’t see you in time.

Stay off the Sidewalk.

The sidewalk may seem like a safer place to ride your bike, but it’s actually not. Cars pulling out of driveways or alleys are not expecting to see a cyclist zoom past, again increasing the possibility of a collision. If you absolutely must ride on the sidewalk, you have a duty to be aware of pedestrians too. Announce your position behind a pedestrian, letting them know you’re passing them or use a bell to signal your presence.

Consider a Safety Course.

Look into a cycling safety class at your local school or park district to further hone your skills. With practice it will get easier and less scary to share the road with cars and trucks, and you will learn to anticipate a driver’s next move.

If you are a cyclist injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, you have rights too. Contact the personal injury attorneys at The May Firm today for a free, initial no-obligation consultation. We can be reached at 1-844-MAYFIRM and are here to help you with your cycling personal injury case.