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Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc.

Avoiding injury - bicycle safety tips that can save your life

The recent conviction of Dr. Christopher Thompson for the wrongful injury of two bicyclists on Brentwood Road has brought national attention to the dangers that threaten Southern California bicyclists.
Under California law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers. Bicycles are entitled to share the roads with motor vehicles and should be treated with consideration. A bicyclist is at an extreme disadvantage if an accident should occur.
Car drivers should watch for bicyclists when opening doors, pulling into traffic, or turning. They should especially watch for cyclists when merging towards the curb or bike lane. And, car drivers should never try to overtake a cyclist when making a turn.
Unfortunately, a bicyclist can neither predict nor control the actions of drivers, but there are precautions and defensive techniques a bicyclist can use to make the ride safer.
Tips for safe bicycling

•    Plan your route – Always try to avoid roads with the heavy traffic or many intersections. 
•    Follow traffic laws – Ride with traffic, not against it; ride single file on busy streets; obey all signs and traffic signals.
•    Don’t take chances – Don’t try to beat a red light or another car that is crossing the intersection. It is worth an extra minute to stay safe.
•    Use hand signals to signal stops and turns.
•    Don’t weave around traffic, or make unexpected moves.
•    When in doubt, yield to the car.  Avoid confrontation and offending car drivers.  They may be wrong, but it is not worth risking your life to tell them that.
•    If a car makes a right turn and turns directly in front of you, turn in the same direction to avoid a collision.
•    Wear proper safety equipment – a helmet may save your life in a crash.
•    Be seen – Make sure your bicycle has working rear and front lights and reflectors.  Use your lights at night and any time bad weather reduces visibility.  Wear bright colors.
•    When possible, ride in the center of the lane.  Don’t share the lane with a car – this reduces your visibility.
•    While in an intersection, stay behind the lane of stopped cars.  Avoid pulling up to the right of a stopped car as this puts you in the car’s blind spot. 
•    Stay at least a door’s length away from parked cars.  An unexpected door opening can knock you off your bike and into traffic.   Door openings can be fatal, and from personal experience, they hurt!
•    Watch for parked cars that may pull out into the lane.
•    Don’t ever assume that drivers can see you – In a recent Seattle case, a driver was convicted for running over a 6-foot orange rabbit driving a well-lit pedicab.  The man claimed that he did not see the victim as he was reaching for his dropped cell phone.  Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents, so never assume a driver sees you unless he acknowledges your presence.  This is especially important at stop signs and intersections.
These tips can help, but if a driver’s negligence is responsible for your bicycle injury, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries.Because we have a professional bicyclist on staff,the law firm of Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie truly understands the needs of bike accident victims. Contact our bicycle accident attorneys today regarding your injury case at 866-981-5596 for a free consultation.

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