The bicyclist is neither a motor vehicle nor a pedestrian. She travels faster and requires more road space than the pedestrian yet does not have the speed, size, or visibility of the motor vehicle. This places the bicyclist at high risk of getting hit by a car. As a New Jersey personal injury attorney, I want to make sure you have a safe bicycling experience. Here are four tips for safely sharing the road with motorists:
Give Parked Cars Plenty of Space
Crashing into a door opened by the driver in a parked car in front of you is a common accident that has caused many serious injuries and fatalities. This happens because the driver in a parked car is not expecting nor sees the bicyclist. Maintain a safe distance to the left of parked cars that is well outside of the opening radius of their doors. The risk of being hit by cars behind you, is far less than getting “doored” by parked cars.
Do Not Pass Cars on the Right
Although cars will pass you on the left side of your lane, you must not pass them on the right side of a single lane when they slow down. The car may be pulling over to park on the right side of the road or make a right turn into a side road. Passing them on the right in these situations places you in their blind spot and the car could make a right turn into you.
Do Not Hug the Curb or Edge of the Road
Because of their two wheels, bicycles are unstable and require some maneuvering space to the left and right of their wheels. The space may be needed to recover from a wind gust or dodge a pothole. Having no room between your wheels and the curb may cause you to strike the curb and knock you off your bike.
Motorists hit bicyclists because they do not see them. Whether during the day or night, always wear a reflective vest or a safety triangle. If you must ride at night, get a headlight and tail light.
If you are injured on your bicycle because of the actions of a motorist or because of road surface conditions, don’t hesitate to consult with a Paterson, New Jersey personal injury attorney. Contact us today for a free consultation.