Avoiding Philadelphia Pothole Accidents

An Unexpected Consequence of This Winter’s Weather

This year’s winter weather has brought us more than 22 inches of snow, sixty degree days, and potholes – holes in the pavement that vary in size and shape.

What do potholes have to do with winter?

Potholes occur when water in the ground below asphalt pavement freezes and then thaws. The resulting expansion and contraction of the soil weakens the asphalt and causes it to crack and deteriorate.

Potholes are usually most common in the spring. But, potholes can occur anytime that there is a lot of fluctuation between warm temperatures and cold temperatures. So, this year’s warm winter and harsh blizzards mean an early pothole season.

Potholes are Dangerous to Bicyclists

When you drive over a pothole, you cringe over the strain the pothole puts on your car’s suspension. If you are really unlucky, you may also end up with damage to your tires and wheels. But, if you are on a bike, a pothole can cause serious damage to both your bike and your person.

Avoiding Pothole Injuries

Fortunately, most Philadelphia pothole accidents can be avoided. The first step is to make sure you see the potholes. These tips can help:

  1. Scan up the road while riding your bike. Look for dark patches that may indicate potholes.
  2. If you ride in the dark, use a front light to illuminate the road.
  3. Pay attention while riding your bike. It’s easy to miss a pothole if you are daydreaming.

Bicylists know that potholes are dangerous, so they tend to brake or swerve in order to avoid potholes. Drivers should give you enough space to go around the pothole. You don’t need to give the hole a wide margin; missing it by a few inches is fine.

If you must ride into a pothole to avoid traffic, slowdown, relax, and gently lift yourself off your seat. This will reduce the weight on your bike, as it travels over the other side.

Make sure that you are wearing a helmet to protect your brain and that your tires are properly inflated. Underinflated tires are more likely to be punctured on the pothole’s sharp edge. A tire puncture can throw you from your bike.

Compensation for Philadelphia Pothole Accidents

Liability for Pennsylvania pothole accidents will depend on the circumstances of your accident and the severity of your injuries. Did a driver push you into the pothole as he tried to pass? Was the pothole hidden under leaves and debris? Was it a new pothole or one that had been reported several months ago? Was the bicyclists a child?

Philadelphia Bike Lawyers: Bicyclists Representing Bicyclists

If you’ve been injured in a Pennsylvania bicycle accident, Petrelli Law can help. Call us at 215-309-4034. Our attorneys will schedule a free consultation. We’ll listen to your story and tell you about your rights and your eligibility for compensation for your medical bills, property damage and more.

6 Ways to Keep Yourself Safe During Your Fall Bike Ride

Late October has come to Pennsylvania:

There are pumpkins on the doorstep, the leaves are changing color, and the air is getting crisp. It’s a great time for a bike ride.

fall-biking_316923671Bicycling is the perfect way to enjoy fall foliage, but cooler temperatures and shorter days can affect your ride. Here are six tips to help you stay safe while biking this fall.

  1. Check your lights. The sun is setting earlier, so you are more likely to be out riding after dark. Pennsylvania law requires that all bicyclists have amber reflectors on each side of the bike and a red reflector on the bike’s rear. Bicycles must also be equipped with a front white light with a visibility range of 500 feet. Fall is a good time to check the batteries on your lights and to add additional lighting if needed. Flashing LEDs are inexpensive and will make your bike more visible.
  2. Don’t forget about glare. The sun’s position in the sky is lower in the fall. This means that drivers headed west must deal with sun glare during the evening commute. Use extra caution when riding on westbound roads; never assume that a driver can see you.
  3. Check your tire pressure. As the air temperature drops, the air molecules in your tires slow down their movements causing a drop in air pressure. Check your air pressure before every ride and inflate your tires when necessary.
  4. Wipe and lubricate your chains. Damp weather can cause your chain to rust. Preventative maintenance will protect your bike and keep it in safe operating condition.
  5. Prepare for the weather. It isn’t unusual for a beautiful fall day to suddenly turn stormy or for the temperature to dramatically drop over the course of a day. Check the weather before your bike ride. Carry a rain poncho and extra layers in your bag.
  6. Watch for leaves. Fallen leaves can cover potholes and other dangers. They also turn slippery when wet. Avoid leaves when possible. If you must ride through a pile of leaves, slow down.

These tips can help you stay safe, but even the safest bike rider is vulnerable to reckless drivers. If you or your child was injured in a bicycle crash caused by a negligent driver, Petrelli Law can help. Our Philadelphia accident attorneys are bicyclists, and we fight to help bicycle accident victims get the accountability they deserve. Call 215-309-4034 for more information or to schedule a free consultation.


Baby on Board: Three Ways to Safely Bike with Young Children in Pennsylvania

bike-trailer_155696384Before you became a parent, bicycling was a big part of your life. But, now it’s hard to squeeze in the time for a good bicycle ride. Fortunately, you have options.

Bicycle seats, bike trailers and trailer bikes allow parents and children to enjoy biking together. Riding with your child isn’t the same as training for a half century, but it can make bicycling an activity that the whole family will enjoy.

How Old is Old Enough?

Your child should be at least 12 months old before riding in a bicycle seat or bicycle trailer. She should be able to sit up for long periods of time and have the neck strength to fully support her head.

Choose Your Equipment Carefully

Bicycle trailers and bicycle seats allow parents to share their bike with a young child. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

Child Bike Seat

Child bicycle seats attach to the back of the bike. The seats have a high back to protect the child’s head. A bike seat with sides that curve around will offer some extra support if your child gets sleepy. Most hold children up to 40 pounds.

This option is popular with parents because bike seats are relatively inexpensive ($50 to $250) and do not affect the bike’s maneuverability. Children like bike seats because they have a good view of the road. However, bike seats can make a bicycle top-heavy and more likely to tip. If the bike tips, the seat and helmet may not be enough to prevent injury.

Bike Trailer

A bike trailer can be used with one or two children who weigh up to 75 pounds or more. Bike trailers are more stable then bicycle seats and will stay upright if the bike tips.

However, bike trailers can be hard to maneuver. Children may get bored and restless because they can’t see the road. Because the trailer is close to the ground, children may also be exposed to car exhaust.

Bicycle trailers are also expensive; prices start at several hundred dollars. However, lightly used bicycle trailers are often available second-hand. If you buy a second-hand trailer, have it checked out at a local bike shop to make sure it meets all safety specifications before riding with your child.

Both bike trailer and bicycle seats should be fitted with a five or six-point harness. Your child should also wear a helmet when biking.

Trailer Bikes

Children age four to ten can use a trailer bike or child-sized bicycle that attaches to the rear of an adult bicycle. The trailer bike has pedals and handlebars. But, it is the adult rider who steers and sets the pace. This is a good option for an older child who is not yet ready to ride independently.

More Safety Tips

  • Make sure that your child wears a helmet. Head injury is the leading cause of bicycle-related deaths. Pennsylvania law requires that all children under the age of 18 wear a helmet when on a bicycle or in a bike trailer. The helmet should fit snugly and be certified to meet Snell, ANSI, or CPSC safety requirements.
  • Try short trips first. A bike seat, bicycle trailer, or trailer bike will affect the handling of your own bicycle. Try a few short rides on quiet streets before planning longer trips.
  • Stay visible. Even drivers who ignore bicyclists are more likely to use care if they see a child on a bike. You and your child should wear bright colors when bicycling. The bike and trailer should be fitted with lights, reflectors, and flags.

The Philadelphia bicycle accident attorneys at Petrelli Law are dedicated to helping families of those injured in Pennsylvania bicycle-car accidents. To learn more or schedule a free consultation, contact us at (215) 309-4034.

A Pennsylvania Biker’s Guide to Choosing a Safety Helmet

helmetIn Pennsylvania, children age 12 and under must wear a helmet when riding a bike. Adult are not required to wear a helmet, but wearing a helmet is a good idea for any bicyclist. Head injury is the leading cause of bicycle accident death in Pennsylvania. A helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent.

Helmets don’t prevent bicycle accidents, but the right bicycle helmet can be an important source of protection in a crash and it can reduce the severity of injuries. However, choosing a bike helmet isn’t easy. Bike helmets are available in wide variety of styles and price ranges. How do you know that the helmet you choose will provide the protection you need?

How to choose a bike helmet

You want a bicycle helmet that fits well and will provide plenty of protection in an accident. To choose a safe helmet, follow these tips from the bicycle accident attorneys at Petrelli Law. Read more

bike safety

8 Pennsylvania Bike Safety Tips

Keep Your Child Safe This Summer

bike safetyDo you remember your first bike? What about the day your training wheels came off? Or, your first long ride? Riding a bike is an important part of an American childhood. You want your child to have those memories, but you know that bikes can also be dangerous.

Each day, more than 600 children are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to bicycle-related crashes. In fact, emergency rooms treat more children for bicycling injuries than for injuries caused by any other sport.

Half of children who are hospitalized after a bicycle crash are treated for head and brain injuries. But, this doesn’t have to be the case. Many bicycle-related head injuries can be prevented with a properly-fitted bicycle helmet.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) , estimate that a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury and brain injury by as much as 85 percent and that bicycle helmets could prevent more than half of bike-related head injury deaths. The best way to prevent bicycle accident injury is to insist your child ALWAYS wear a helmet. Read more