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Safety First: Cycling Tips for the Avid Biker

Bikers' safety has been in question lately, especially for those in the Seattle area. There have been many fatal bicycle accidents in the city. As Davis Law Group is representing many of the families in the wrongful death cases as a result of bicycle accidents, we personally understand how tragic these accidents are and that something needs to be done.

The one thing to remember - there are always personal tips you can utilize to promote personal safety while cycling.

Bicycle accident statistics

In the United States, every year there are about 900 bicycle accident deaths. Of the reported deaths in 1999, 29% were under the age of 16. Emergency rooms saw 51,600 bicycle-related injuries in 2008. Intersections are particularly dangerous, accounting for 35% of bicycle accidents. These accidents not only affect people’s lives, but take a toll on the economy in general. Injuries and deaths from bicycle accidents alone cost over $4 billion a year.

11 Tips That Could Save Your Life

1. Buying a good helmet is step number one. Make sure that it is comfortable, fits as it should and that is meets the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commissions standards. Inside the helmet, you should find a sticker that tells you what standard is used. It should be a CPSC sticker or an ASTM sticker. If you see neither sticker, you should definitely invest in a new helmet. If you are unsure, a local bicycle shop will be able to help you.

2. Eye protection is very important. What if a rock flies up and hits you? You want your eyes protected. Good shatter-resistant sunglasses for sunny days and clear lens for overcast rides. Sun, bugs, debris or other things many prevent you from clearly seeing while riding.

Prevent bicycle accidents3. Gloves will keep a rider’s hands on the handlebars. If it is cold out, a good pair of gloves will keep your hands warm so that you can keep a good grip. In case of a fall, your hands will be protected to catch your fall.

4. A pocket first-aid kit will come in very handy if you are to crash. This kit should include band aids, tap, anti-bacterial crème, gauze and alcohol wipes. These items come in portable sizes that can be stored in a jacket.

5. Cars and bikes are legally treated as equals, so there is no reason that you should not have mirrors, just as a car does. Rear-view mirrors for handlebars or helmets would increase safety as the ride can be looking forward and still have the ability to see what is coming from behind.

6. Reflective leg and arm bands are important in order for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to see you. Bikers should purchase Velcro bands that can snap in place around an arm and/or leg. If you do not feel comfortable wearing a band, you should at least have a headlight, tail light and rear reflector that is not hidden by clothing or bags.

7. Personal, medical and emergency identification is a must. When you are cycling, you should always carry some sort of identification in case of an emergency. There are Road IDs, in which you can put your emergency information, telephone numbers, contact people and more on the inside of the bracelet.

8. Under-seat bags are good for tools, first-aid and personal belongings and even to store your gloves and other accessories. Since cyclists do not need much, this bag should be small, in order to minimize weight specifically.

9. Nightlights can save a cyclist’s life if riding at night. Most front headlights provide light to see the road ahead of you and for others on the road to see you. There are handle bar and helmet mounted lights. Each type can be used on and off the bicycle.

10. Another great supple to have on board is a bell or horn. These are excellent for when you need to bring attention to yourself, if another driver or cyclist does not see you.

11. High-visibility clothing is always important, no matter the time of day or part of the year. Examples include reflective jerseys, vests, outerwear, leggings and glove. Bring as much attention to yourself as possible in order to prevent any chance of being missed on the road.

While cycling always remember to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Some roadways, busy intersections and bicycle lanes are hazards to you. However, those factors are out of your control. The one thing you have to remember, is that the safer you are while cycling, the less of a chance of an accident.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Seattle’s personal injury attorney Chris Davis. Mr. Davis has represented many victims of high profile bicycle accident cases in the northwest. To schedule a free consultation at Davis Law Group call (206) 727-4000.