Bicyclists often find themselves facing a dilemma about where to ride. A bicycle is technically a vehicle, but it lacks the engine that classifies cars and trucks as motor
vehicles. A bicyclist is not a pedestrian; a pedestrian is, by definition, an individual walking on foot. Choosing to ride a bicycle alongside motor vehicles and pedestrians puts all parties at risk of being injured in a collision.
Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable, but in many cases, they can be avoided. As a bicyclist, knowing where to safely ride your bicycle is a useful way to reduce your chance of being injured in a collision with a motor vehicle or a pedestrian.
Bicycle Paths are Best
When a bicycle path is available, use it. Many cities in the United States have bicycle paths available or are in the process of developing them for residents’ use. St. Paul and Des Moines are two notable examples. Bicycle paths provide a safe place for cyclists by removing them from the roadway. They can also reduce the likelihood of pedestrian collisions by clearly marking where bicycles are to be ridden.
Riding in the Street
When bicycle paths are not available, cyclists have to ride in the street. If you must do this, stay as close as possible to the right side of your lane. Ride with the flow of traffic and obey the same rules drivers follow, like giving other vehicles ample following distance, stopping at all stop signs and red lights, and signaling before making a turn. If you are riding with another bicyclist, ride in a single file line, rather than two or more abreast. Do not ride on the shoulder.
In most cases, bicyclists are prohibited from riding on highways, expressways, and interstate highways. Check your local laws before riding on any roadway.
Riding on the Sidewalk
Although it can seem safer to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk than in the street, understand that there are as many hazards on the sidewalk as there are in the road. You can collide with a pedestrian or a stationary object and suffer an injury. In some places, it is illegal to bicycle on the sidewalk.
If you do ride on the sidewalk, ride slowly and always yield to pedestrians. Sometimes, it is safer to walk your bicycle. Typically, this is the case in congested areas and at crosswalks. Do not ride your bicycle with headphones in your ears; this can keep you from hearing important warnings as your ride.
Work with an Experienced La Crosse Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about the personal injury claim process and the issues you can potentially face given your case’s circumstances, speak with one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. Contact our firm today to set up your initial consultation in our office.