From the winding bike trails of the Upper Peninsula to the bike lanes of Motor City, Michigan has plenty of paths and roadways for cyclists. Whether riding yours to get to work or to get exercise, the Great Lake State is bike-friendly. To avoid injuries and accidents, savvy cyclists take precautions every time they hit the road. If you’re new to cycling or haven’t been on two wheels since you were a kid, our helpful bike safety suggestions could save the day.
If you’ve been injured by a careless act of others while riding, find a personal injury lawyer in Michigan at Christensen Law. Regardless if you’ve taken a spill due to poor road conditions or you’ve been side-swiped by a driver, they’ll fight for your right to compensation.
Best Bicycle Accident Prevention Tips
You’re still vulnerable no matter how free and alive you feel while pedaling on Michigan’s roads or backwoods bike trails. All it takes is one city-neglected pothole or a distracted driver, and your body can quickly meet the unkind pavement. Bike accidents do happen, but there are several things you can do as a cyclist to protect yourself.
Always Wear a Helmet
Although it’s not required for bicyclists in Michigan to wear a helmet, it’s strongly suggested that you do. Statistically, wearing a helmet every time you’re out for a ride will significantly increase your chances of walking away from an accident instead of ending up in the hospital with a head trauma injury.
Bicyclists should invest in a high-quality helmet that ensures protection and comfort. Don’t skimp; inexpensive helmets don’t provide the level of protection needed if you go down and hit a less-than-soft surface.
Headlight and Taillight On
Many collisions between bikes and cars occur because the driver claims they didn’t see the cyclist. You may think bicycle headlights are only useful for nighttime riding to help you see the road, but they play an equally important role when the sun is shining. Motorists are more likely to see cyclists with their headlights and taillights on during the day.
If your bike doesn’t have a headlight and taillight, consider purchasing them before you hop on your bike for the next outing. Flip them both on, day or night, and you’ll increase your chances of being seen.
Check Your Bike’s Brakes
It doesn’t matter how fast you can go on your bike if it doesn’t have equal stopping power. Before each ride, take a few seconds to ensure the front and rear brakes work properly. Lift the front wheel off the ground, spin it, and hit the brake. Do the same for the rear wheel. If the bike’s brakes aren’t working properly, adjust them or have a professional mechanic do it.
Leave the Headphones at Home
Many cyclists enjoy riding while listening to their favorite music or podcast. While this may seem like a great way to enhance your riding experience, it’s to be avoided. There are hazards everywhere, whether on a busy city street, a quiet back road, or a bike trail. Headphones or earbuds will block out the sounds you need to hear to alert you to cars, other bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Go With the Flow
Cyclists should always ride with the traffic flow. Statistics report a higher likelihood of a collision with a motor vehicle when riding against the traffic flow. Pedestrians and vehicles don’t expect traffic to go against the flow, so cyclists should always ride on the proper side of the street. If there’s a bike lane, use it. It’s there for a reason. If there isn’t a designated bike lane, Michigan law requires cyclists to ride as close to the right-hand curb as possible.
What To Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Bike Accident
Sometimes no matter how careful a cyclist is, they wind up injured due to a collision or fall that wasn’t their fault. Suppose you can prove that you were injured due to a person or entity’s negligence. In that case, you must file a personal injury claim to recover your economic and non-economic losses. Michigan’s statute of limitations for personal injury is three years. This means you must file your claim within three years of the accident.
Bicycle Accident Prevention in Michigan: The Bottom Line
Bike riding is supposed to be a pleasurable experience, even if it’s your means of transportation for your daily commute to and from the office. To avoid accidents and injuries, following all the road rules is crucial. Cyclists can be particularly vulnerable to mishaps if they’re not wearing a helmet, have improperly working brakes, and don’t ride with a headlight and taillight that’s on, even during the day.
Victims of bicycle accidents injured by negligence can file a personal injury lawsuit. This should never be attempted without retaining legal representation. Michigan’s personal injury laws can be confusing for laypeople, so don’t seek compensation without first speaking to an attorney.