Prevent Car-Bicycle Crashes in Pennsylvania
Ride Safely in Pennsylvania Traffic and Avoid Car-Bicycle Accidents
April 29, 2015: 22-year-old Rachel Hall was hit by a car while riding her bike on the Temple University campus. She suffered critical injuries, including head trauma. Instead of attending graduation, the young athlete faces months of recovery in a rehabilitation hospital.
May 10, 2015: 26-year-old Vijay Mohan was killed in a bike accident in Philadelphia. The young filmmaker and activist was struck by a Buick while riding on Girard Avenue.
June 10, 2015: 17-year-old Adelso “Adeiry” Matos-Garcia was killed in Hunting Park when his bike was struck by a driver who was under the influence. The high school student had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player.
Each of these accidents is a tragedy that could have been prevented. Keeping bicyclists safe is a team effort. In order to prevent car-bicycle accidents, both bicyclists and drivers must do their part.
What Can Bicyclists do to Prevent Car-Bicycle Crashes in Pennsylvania?
There is little a bicyclist can do to stop a drunk driver; however most Pennsylvania bicycle-car accidents happen when a driver doesn’t see a bicyclist. Bicyclists can do their part to prevent bicycle-car accidents by using lights and clothing to increase visibility and by following Pennsylvania traffic laws.
Safety Tips for Pennsylvania Bicyclists
- Always wear a helmet. Head injury is the leading cause of bicycle accident death and disability. A bicycle helmet can save protect you from serious brain injury and save your life in a crash.
- Follow Pennsylvania traffic laws. Ride with traffic, not against it; ride single file on busy streets; obey all signs and traffic signals.
- Be seen. Make sure your bike has working headlight and properly positioned reflectors. Wear bright colored clothing with reflective strips. If it is dark, you can add clip-on flashing lights to your jacket or backpack.
- Check your bike before riding. Before you get on your bike, make sure your tires are properly inflated and your lights and brakes work.
- Be aware of car blind spots. Avoid pulling up along the side of a line of cars when waiting at an intersection. Ride in the center of your lane. Avoid sharing the lane with a car.
- Don’t take chances. Drivers expect bicyclists to ride in a predictable manner. Don’t weave around traffic or make unexpected moves. Don’t speed up to beat a red light or to get ahead of a car that is crossing the intersection.
- Yield to cars. The driver may be wrong, but his vehicle is bigger. It is safer to stay out of its way. If a car turns directly in front of you, turn in the same direction to avoid a crash.
- Watch for parked cars. Be aware that a driver may suddenly open a door or pull out into your lane.
- Plan your route for safety. Use bike lanes and bike paths when available. If possible, avoid roads with heavy traffic. Do not ride on the freeway.
- Remain alert. Avoid distractions. Don’t wear headphones while riding. Never ride a bike because you are too impaired to drive.
What Can Drivers do to Prevent Car-Bicycle Crashes in Pennsylvania?
When a car hits a bicycle, the biker has no protection. The biker is very likely to suffer a serious injury or death. Therefore, drivers have a special duty of care towards bicyclists. Drivers must take steps to prevent car-bicycle crashes.
Safety Tips for Pennsylvania Drivers
- Accept that bicyclists have a right to use the road. Allow bicyclists the space they need to stay safe.
- Watch for bicyclists. Use extra care in residential neighborhoods, schools and areas with bike lanes. Look for bicyclists before opening your door, pulling out into traffic or backing out of a driveway.
- Avoid distractions. Avoid any activity that takes your eyes of the road, including texting and talking on a cell phone.
Every day, the attorneys at Petrelli Law meet Pennsylvania families whose lives were changed by car-bicycle accidents. We urge all drivers to watch for bicyclists and do their best to prevent bicycle-car crashes.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, we’d like to help. Contact us at (215) 309-4034 for more information.