Bicycling in and around Boston is fun, healthy, environmentally sound, and good on the wallet. As such, cycling—as both a recreational activity and a mode of transportation—is skyrocketing in popularity. This pollution-free, cheap alternative to gas-guzzling cars and trucks is not, however, without risks. In fact, without adequate knowledge of bicycle safety, cycling can be even more dangerous than driving. And without the four-walled protection of a motor vehicle, bicycle accidents frequently result in serious injury, and even death.
Although the most serious cycling injuries typically involve a motor vehicle traveling at 40 MPH or more, accidents can happen anywhere, and at any speed. Cycling injuries often include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, and internal injuries. If you’ve been injured in a bicycling accident, there are certain steps you should take immediately. These include:
- Report the accident to police. If you are unable to call yourself, ask if someone else can. As soon as the crash is reported, both police and paramedics will be dispatched to the scene. In addition, police will investigate the accident, creating an official police report and collecting witness statements, both of which may be invaluable if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a cycling accident.
- Obtain immediate medical attention. Even if you do not have obvious injuries or feel pain, it is important to seek medical attention after a cycling accident. Internal injuries can take days or weeks to present symptoms, and some of these injuries can be extremely serious. Further, medical records can prove quite valuable in an injury lawsuit.
- Consult with a lawyer. If you have been involved in a serious cycling accident, a MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other costs. Not all bicycle accidents lead to injury claims, but a serious crash may warrant legal assistance.
How to Prevent Having a Bicycle Accident in the First Place
Unless you are riding only in bicycle lanes and on trails, you will be sharing the road with motor vehicle drivers. As a result, you must follow the same rules. The steps below will help you protect yourself, and everyone with whom you share the road.
- Always ride with the flow of traffic, and remain to the far-right of the lane.
- Obey all traffic signals, and use hand signals to indicate turns.
- Always wear a helmet when cycling, and dress in brightly-colored clothing.
- If you ride at night, wear reflective gear and affix a headlight to the front of your bike.
- Wear proper shoes when cycling.
- When riding past a parked car, give yourself as much distance as possible to prevent “dooring.”
- Use extra caution at intersections.
- Never expect that a driver will use his/her turn signal.
- Proceed slowly when exiting a driveway, and always look left and right.
- Avoid listening to music, texting, or talking on the phone while riding.
- Never ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.