Bicycling in Oregon is an enjoyable pastime for people of all ages. It is an excellent form of exercise and a pleasant way to spend time outdoors; the entire family can spend time together doing something healthy, and bicycling can be very relaxing.
Besides riding bicycles for recreation, people are increasingly using bicycles as a form of transportation. Commuting to work by bicycle has increased by over 60% in the last 10 years. With increased bicycle use, promoting road bike safety is vital to avoid accidents and injuries. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance offers clinics to educate people about bicycle laws, safety gear, riding skills, and bicycle maintenance.
Preventing Bicycle Injuries
Approximately 800 people die each year nationwide in bicycle accidents, while another 515,000 people are taken to emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. As experienced bicycle accident attorneys, we understand how devastating it can be for a rider to be involved in a bicycle accident. Our goal is to help educate the community on road bike safety, to decrease the number of bicycle accidents; however, we also offer support and legal representation if you have been injured in a bicycle accident due to another person’s negligence.
Whether you enjoy bicycling as a form of exercise, recreation, or as a way to get to work or around town, it is important that you follow the rules of the road and take precautions to stay safe when riding your bicycle. Here are some suggestions and tips for road bike safety.
Fifteen Road Bike Safety Tips to Keep You Safe on Oregon’s Roads
- Obey Oregon Bicycle Laws – Oregon Revised Statutes 814.400 through 814.489 relate to bicyclists. Make sure you know the rules of the road for bicycling.
- Use Safety Equipment – Helmets dramatically reduce the risk of severe head trauma in bicycle accidents. Oregon law requires any rider under 16 years of age to wear a bicycle helmet when on a public way. Reflective clothing and reflectors on your bicycle will make you more visible to other vehicles.
- Do Not Ride Against Traffic – Riding against traffic is one of the most common causes of bicycle accidents – and it’s also against the law.
- DUI Laws Apply to Bicycles – Never ride your bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Choose the Right Bicycle for You – Your bicycle should be the right size for you, and should be adjusted to fit you properly. A bicycle that is the wrong size for you will be difficult to control.
- Use Lights if Riding After Dark – Lights are required by law if you are riding after dark. More importantly, bicycle lights save lives. A white light visible 500 feet in the front and a red light visible 600 feet in the rear are the minimum requirements for safe riding after dark.
- Use Hand Signals – Motorists do not know your intentions. To reduce the risk of accidents, use hand signals to let motorists know when you intend to turn.
- Watch for Road Hazards – Motorists are not the only danger on the road. Road bike safety includes being aware of road hazards. Manhole covers, potholes, gravel, slippery substances on the road, and poor road conditions are among the road hazards that can cause you to lose control of your bicycle and suffer a wreck.
- Obey All Traffic Signs and Signals – It may be tempting to ignore a traffic signal or traffic sign when there is no one around; this is both unsafe and against the law, however.
- Bicycle Maintenance – Maintaining your bicycle is very important for road bike safety. Inspect all components of your bike regularly, and especially if you have not ridden in a while. If your brakes or tires are worn, replace them.
- Leave the Cell Phone in Your Backpack – Just as texting, checking social media sites, and talking on your cell phone are dangerous when you are driving a car, they are also dangerous when riding a bicycle. If you must make a telephone call or check your text messages, stop at a safe location before using your cell phone.
- Do Not Use Headphones While Bicycling – Many bicyclists enjoy listening to music while riding, but wearing headphones be very dangerous by preventing you from hearing oncoming traffic and warnings.
- Never Ride in a Driver’s Blind Spot – If you cannot see yourself in the driver’s mirrors, the driver cannot see you. This is especially important at stop signs and traffic lights, where a driver may turn in front of you.
- Always Have an Emergency Kit – In case you are injured while riding your bicycle, it is helpful to have an emergency medical kit. It is also helpful to have a small tool kit for making simple repairs while on the road.
- Ride in a Single Line – When riding with a group, always ride in single file, with space between each rider. Because it is much more difficult for vehicles safely to pass a group of bicyclists than it is to pass bicyclists riding in single file, the risk of a bicycle accident increases when you do not ride in single file.
For more great tips on road bike safety, check out The Bicyclist’s Survival Guide, published by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Have You Been Injured in an Oregon Bicycle Accident?
A collision with a motor vehicle can be devastating for a bicyclist. The metal frame of a motor vehicle protects its driver and occupants, but lacking such protection to shield them against the impact of a collision, bicyclists can suffer traumatic injuries in bicycle accidents. Broken bones, contusions, severe head traumas, spinal cord injuries, lacerations, and internal injuries are far from uncommon. Receiving the proper medical care as soon as possible is vital to your recovery.
If you have been injured in an Oregon bicycle accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial damages. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you determine the best course of action to take to protect your legal rights under Oregon’s personal injury laws.