May is Bike Month as sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities across America. It was set up as long ago as 1956 to highlight the many benefits of bicycling and to get more people onto two wheels. Although cycling is a great form of transit, bicyclists are also very vulnerable. We highlight safe Virginia cycling tips in this blog.
The week features a host of events including National Bike to Work Week from May 14-18.
More cyclists are on the road in the late spring and summer months from May onwards. While cycling is great exercise and is good for the environment, people on two wheels are particularly vulnerable. Sadly, at the same time as we see more bicyclists on the road, we are likely to read more headlines about injuries and deaths.
The National Safety Council states that more cyclists are injured every year than people on trampolines, skateboarders, swimmers, and kids on playgrounds combined.
According to its publication Injury Facts 2017, a statistical report of unintentional injuries set up by the National Safety Council, 488,123 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2015 after they were hurt riding a bicycle. The only sport causing more injuries overall was basketball, at 493,011 injuries. Football was the third most dangerous sport that year, resulting in 399,873 injuries.
According to Injury Facts, about 1,100 deaths were caused by collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists. With about 80 million cyclists sharing the road with millions of motorized vehicles, the importance of safety precautions in traffic cannot be overstated.
Increasingly cities in Hampton Roads are becoming more cyclist-friendly. Norfolk has installed a new network of cycling paths on highways and is improving the Elizabeth River Trail. Suffolk and Chesapeake are working on a new cycling path.
However, these cities have a long way to go. Often cyclists face dangerous, fast-moving highways and drivers who fail to give them space. Last year, 13 cyclists were killed in Virginia and many more were injured.
Often cyclists are killed by reckless or negligent drivers. However, in some cases, riders fail to obey the rules of the road and ride into traffic or without lights at night.
By following basic eight safe Virginia cycling tips, riders can help ensure they do not become a statistic. They should.
Wear a properly-fitted helmet that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
Wear bright colors and reflectors on their bikes. Always use lights when riding at night.
Check your bike before you go out on the road to make sure everything is functioning properly. Make sure tires are properly inflated, brakes are working and handlebars and seats are properly fitted.
Obey all rules of the road. Remember your bicycle is treated like a vehicle. Ride in the direction of the traffic and obey stop signs and lane markings.
Use hand signals to tell other vehicles when you are turning or changing lanes.
Don’t be distracted. Don’t check electronic devices or listen to music on headphones when you are riding. You will be less aware of dangers.
Don’t ride more than two abreast if you are traveling with other riders.
Be predictable by riding in a straight line. Don’t weave in and out of slow traffic and look ahead for obstacles like cars emerging onto the road or doors of stationary cars being opened.
We hope these Virginia cycling tips help. As well as rules for riders, the drivers of motor vehicles must respect the rights of riders and use the three-feet rule when passing cyclists which means they must give them at least three feet of space.
If you have been injured while riding a bicycle, you may have suffered very serious injuries. You may have grounds to sue the driver who hit and hurt you. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyer at (757) 455-0077.