As more people are opting to use bicycles as an eco-friendly transportation option for getting to and from work, a fun way to exercise, or as a relaxing way to spend some time outdoors, you may have noticed that navigating city streets and roads around Indianapolis has become challenging. With both motor vehicles and bicycles occupying the roads, extra precautions must be taken to minimize the risk of bicycle accidents, and the possibility of serious injury or death. It is important for bicyclists to adhere to the rules of the road, but it is essential for drivers to figure out how to safely share the road with bicyclists. These are a few simple tips for effectively sharing the road with bicyclists:
- Be watchful and courteous of bicyclists. Always allow at least three feet clearance when attempting to pass a bicyclist. Take extra caution, and be alert for bicyclists when opening your door after parking on a street, making a turn, backing out of a driveway or parking spot, or pulling into traffic. Yield for bicyclists in intersections, and carefully heed all posted signs and signals.
- Be predictable. Drivers need to be predictable and avoid making sudden, unexpected moves while behind the wheel. Signal before making a turn. Come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign or red light. Drive carefully and avoid the need to brake suddenly, as it could give the bicyclist riding behind you little to no time to safely come to a stop.
- Avoid driver distractions. Any activity that causes you to take your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or attention off the task of driving is a distraction. Don’t make calls or text while driving. Even looking away for a few seconds to grab an item on the seat next to you could cause you to fail to see a bicyclist in time to avoid a collision.
Indiana Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an estimated two percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities involve bicyclists. In 2013, 741 bicyclists lost their lives in collisions with cars or other motor vehicles. The most dangerous time for bicyclists to be sharing the roads with other motorists is between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and midnight. During these hours, the number of bicycle fatalities rises significantly. Rush hour traffic makes urban streets far more dangerous for bicyclists than rural areas, due to the number of vehicles sharing the roadways. Around dusk and during the darker evening hours is also a dangerous time for bicyclists, due to limited visibility. Wearing a helmet has been shown to reduce the risk of traumatic head injury by about 50 percent, but Indiana is one of the states that does not currently have laws in place requiring bicyclists to wear a helmet. Drivers also must do their part to help reduce the risk of causing a serious or catastrophic bicycle accident.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Bicycle Accident
If you or your loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, particularly if the accident was caused by a distracted or negligent driver, it is critical that legal action is taken to help you to seek damages. Our attorneys have decades of experience protecting the rights of accident victims and their families, and we are more than prepared to help you on an immediate basis. Call Jacobs Law today so you can schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about your rights and legal options.