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Tips for cyclists to avoid accidents on the road

The most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that 818 bicyclists died on American streets in 2015, while another 45,000 cyclists received injuries in traffic. The number of cyclist fatalities increased 12.2 percent over 2014. This may not sound like a lot of deaths, but many of these fatalities could have been prevented if motorists were more aware of cyclists on the road. 

In 37 percent of the crashes, alcohol was involved. Either the driver or cyclist had been drinking and had a blood alcohol content over 0.01 g/dl. Almost two-thirds of the crashes were not at intersections, and most of the crashes occurred in an urban setting. Male cyclists were injured and killed at far higher rates than female cyclists. 

Cyclists can do many things to help stay safe on the road: 

  • Wear a helmet, even though it is not required by law.
  • Wear bright clothing and use reflector tape and lights on your bicycle.
  • Do not ride close to parked cars to avoid running into an opening car door.
  • Obey traffic rules. Ride with the flow of traffic. Use hand signals to make turns.
  • When at a stoplight, do not stop in the blind spot of a car. The driver could make a right turn and cut you off. Instead, stop behind the car and wait for it to enter the intersection.
  • Do not swerve in and out between parked cars. 

If an accident occurs 

Accidents can be quite devastating to cyclists because, unlike the surrounding frame of an automobile, a bike offers no protection for the cyclist. If you are a cyclist seriously injured in an auto accident, you might want to speak to a lawyer about your situation. It is possible that the insurance company may try to blame you for the accident, instead of the auto driver. You may want an advocate to help you through the process to take care of your injuries, your lost income and your pain and suffering.  

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