Two recent fatalities after bicyclists were struck by cars–one in Dorchester and the other in South Boston–highlight the need for safe and aware riding on Boston’s streets, which are heavily congested with vehicular traffic, foot traffic, and other commuters. Further, bicycling in the city has become an increasingly popular mode of travel, especially with the success of the Hubway bike sharing program and designated bicycle lanes on certain roads. As such, motorists need to remain cognizant and safely share the road with their two-wheel counterparts and bicyclists need to ride defensively, in appropriate lanes and areas, and with high visibility.
According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, 37% of all Boston bike accidents in 2009 were the result of a collision with a car. As such, the Boston bicycle accident attorneys at Bellotti Law Group offer the following safety tips to help reduce and avoid car-bike accidents.
1. Be Visible: Quite simply, wear bright colored clothing and reflectors, especially at night.
2. Use a White Front and Red Rear Light: Like automobiles, if you must travel at night, your bike should be equipped with a white front headlight and a rear red light to increase your visibility.
3. Always Wear a Safety Helmet: Plain and simple, every time you ride, no matter what.
4. Be Respectful and Share the Road: The same traffic laws apply to both motorists and cyclists. Both motorists and cyclists should respect the rules of the road, practice safe and defensive driving habits, and abide by all traffic laws, signs, lights, and regulations. If possible, cyclists should travel only in designated bike lanes and motorists should be extra vigilant and respect bicyclists right to share the road.
5. Don’t Ride on Sidewalks: 5% of bike crashes involved a pedestrian.
6. Always Ride With the Flow of Traffic: Never bike against the traffic flow.
7. Be Particularly Cautious with Left Turns: Taking a left turn on a bike is particularly dangerous–you should scan, signal, then carefully move into the lane that leads to where you are trying to go.
8. Always Signal: Even when taking an easier right turn, signal you intention to cars and others.
9. Bike Away from the Curb: Avoiding road hazards and hazards on the sidewalk is easier is riding away from the curb.
10. Look Out: Be cautious to avoid drivers’ blind spots and opening doors of parked cars. If possible, pass at least a few feet from parked cars and car doors. If there is no designated bike lane, ride in the right third of a car lane so you are visible to drivers.
11. Drivers Be Careful: Motorists should always check over their shoulder for cyclists before making a right turn, pass bikes with at least 3 feet of space to account for unexpected maneuvers or hazards, look before opening a car door, and overall, drive slowly and cautiously, especially in congested urban areas.
The Boston Globe notes that “sharing the road with others requires vigilance, caution, and courtesy.” The Boston bike accident lawyers at Bellotti Law Group couldn’t agree more. Contact the Boston bike accident attorneys at Bellotti Law Group today if you or a loved one has been the victim of another person’s negligence at 617-225-2100 for a FREE consultation to discuss maximizing your rights.