Do you enjoy heading out onto California roadways to ride a bicycle on a bright, sunny day? Cyclists often cite the mental and physical health benefits of their sport — or is it a hobby, or both? At any rate, those who pedal their way around the state will want to heed a warning from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which lists this state, along with two others, as the most dangerous places in the nation to ride a bicycle.
More than 840 fatalities occurred involving bicycle accidents throughout the country in 2019. Data shows that most of those deaths occurred in California. When you ride a bicycle on public roads, you’re obligated to adhere to traffic laws. However, even if you are cautious, alert and careful when you ride, another person’s negligence can cause a collision that results in severe injuries.
Keep these bicycle safety tips in mind on California roadways
Using proper hand signals when cycling improves roadway safety. The following list includes additional steps you can take to reduce the chances of a collision while you’re riding a bicycle:
- Wear a helmet.
- Never ride in the dark without reflector strips on your bicycle and clothing.
- Always maintain full control of your bicycle.
- Ride in a safe lane position.
It is important to scan your surroundings while cycling, especially if you approach an intersection where the risk of collision is high.
What to do if someone hits you while you’re on a bicycle
California prohibits riding a bicycle on an expressway, highway or bridge, unless there are signs permitting it. Even on a quiet, residential street, however, another vehicle might hit you while you’re on a bicycle. If this happens, the top priority is to obtain medical attention. Sadly, many bicycle accidents are fatal, in which case, grieving families experience the devastating loss of a loved one, as well as financial distress that may arise because of medical bills, funeral costs and other expenses associated with the incident.
Surviving a bicycle collision might mean that you have severe injuries or permanent disability, such as a brain injury that never fully heals. Recovering accident victims often need assistance from a visiting nurse or other medical team members, such as a physical therapist. When driver negligence was a primary cause of injury, a bicyclist may seek restitution by filing a claim in a civil court against the person deemed responsible for damages.