Just like biking in nature, biking in cities can have many hazards. Even though the roads are paved, roadway hazards in the city can include potholes, malfunctioning traffic signals, road debris and even missing or fallen signs. Statistics show that the highest bicycle death rates can be found in adolescent groups, from 15-24 years of age, and adult groups aged 45 years and older. Children ages 5-14 years and adolescents/young adults aged 15-24 years have the highest rate of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries.
How Can I Help Make Sacramento Safer for Bicyclists?
The first place to start is with your own safety. By taking legally required steps as well as extra precautions, you can make the road safer for you and drivers.
- Wearing a helmet – It is proven that bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head and brain injuries when properly fitted, no matter the age of the rider. Some states also have laws requiring children, and in some cases adults, to wear a helmet when riding a bike, so know the laws of the place where you are riding.
- Lighting – Place active lighting, such as front white lights, rear red lights or other form of lighting on your bike or you. All additional lighting will improve your visibility, This will allow motorists to see you more easily and from a greater distance.
- Rider Visibility – It is a good idea to wear fluorescent clothing during the day, and retro-reflective clothing if riding at night to ensure drivers see you.
Along with protecting yourself, you can help protect others on the road by reporting any hazards you see. If you witness any potential hazard, like a pothole or missing sign, promptly report it to the appropriate city or county agency. When you report a hazard, you will need to provide the following details:
- Your name
- Your contact information (such as your e-mail address, phone number, home address)
- The date you noted the hazard
- The location (try to be as specific and concise as possible)
- The direction of travel
- A brief description of the hazard itself
By taking a few minutes to report hazards you see in the city, you can help make Sacramento safer for other bicyclists.
Bike Riding and Personal Injury
There are other dangers to bicyclists, aside from potholes and debris. According to statistics from 2012, 726 people lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. 2012 also saw 49,000 estimated bicyclist injuries. When a bicyclist is hit by a vehicle, the cyclist is at far greater risk of injury and death than the driver.
Both cyclists and drivers are required to obey the rules of the road. This can include riding in a bike lane and properly signaling. When determining negligence in a personal injury case, the court will look at:
- Negligence on the part of the driver
- Negligence on the part of the bicyclist
To ensure that you receive compensation for your damages, you must prove negligence on the driver’s part. Driver negligence can include speeding, failing to give the bicyclist enough space and disregarding stop signs/street lights.