Oregon is one of the top 10 most bike-friendly states as reported by the Detroit Free Press. This is good news for bicycle riders in the state, especially as the weather gets warmer and more people head out on outdoor biking adventures or use bikes for commuting over the upcoming months. Unfortunately, although Oregon ranks number three in terms of being bike-friendly, bicycle accidents still happen and they can still cause serious injury or death.
Our Portland, OR bike accident attorneys know that many crashes are caused by mistakes made by drivers of passenger vehicles who fail to share the roads safely with bicyclists or who don’t understand how the rules of the road apply to bike riders. This May, Bike Safety Month aims to help curb some of these accidents by reminding both drivers and bicycle riders of some important safety tips.
National Bike Safety Month
Bike Safety Month is celebrated throughout the United States, with the League of American Bicyclists organizing many events including a bike-to-work day and a bike-to-school day. An important part of National Bike Safety Month, however, is educating riders about bike accident risks and educating parents about the dangers that kids face when riding their bikes.
Bicycle riders can protect themselves from some of the dangers of bike riding by wearing reflective gear and/or bright clothing to make it easier for cars to see them; by wearing helmets at all times when riding; and by staying away from high-traffic areas whenever possible. Parents should also limit when and where kids ride unsupervised. No one should be riding in traffic unless they understand the rules of the road and know how to use hand signals to communicate with drivers.
Bike riders, however, can only go so far in protecting themselves from accidents since cars are much faster and much bigger and can cause a crash to occur in just a split second. Drivers of motor vehicles must take responsibility for keeping bicycle riders safe and some of the different things that drivers should do include:
- Checking for bicycle riders before opening doors. A driver who opens a door in the path of an oncoming bicycle rider could cause serious injury.
- Respecting the right-of-way of bicycle riders when required by law to yield to bicyclists.
- Being alert and on-the-lookout for bicycle riders. This is especially important in residential neighborhoods where kids may be out on their bicycles and riding.
- Avoiding behaviors that increase the risk of bike accidents. Drivers should not drive drunk, drive when they are too tired, or focus on distractions in the car. All of these behaviors can reduce the chances that a driver will see a bicyclist who is riding.
- Respecting bicycle lanes. One of the reasons Oregon is so bike friendly is our many bike lanes. Drivers should be sure to give bicycle riders space in these lanes and shouldn’t get too close or cut off bicyclists.
By following these important safety tips, drivers can do their part during Bike Safety Month to help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that result from bicycle accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in the Portland area, contact Zbinden & Curtis. Call (503) 287-5000.