A few weeks ago, I was riding my bicycle behind a cautious driver who was hoping no one was going to crash into her as she passed through a Kennewick roundabout (we’ve all been there, right?). After we came out of the roundabout, she shouts back at me, “Thanks a lot, jerk!” What had I done? Was I following too close? Was I not being safe? I didn’t think so at the time, but either way, she clearly wasn’t happy that I was on the road.
If you’ve ridden your bike on city streets, you may have been on the receiving end of such comments and felt some concern for your safety. You’ve probably also been told to increase your Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Personal Injury Protection to the maximum possible coverage in case an uninsured driver crashes into you. I’m not sure why, but a substantial number of drivers believe that roads are for cars only, not bikes or motorcycles. It’s so common, I’ve even seen comedy sketches about it.
Generally speaking, members of Tri-Cities community are very accepting and aware of cyclists. Hundreds of miles of bike lanes and paved trails prove this point. This is great as cycling becomes increasingly popular nationwide. Not only is cycling a good, low-impact form of exercise, but it is also an environmentally friendly form of transportation. Not only are you able to reduce your trips to the local gas station, but you can also live a healthier lifestyle when biking to work or around town. Although a large number of cyclists are leaving the roads as bicycle season is coming to a close, many people are still riding their mountain bikes along the trails at Badger Mountain, Chamna Preserve, and the Columbia River.
For those still riding, please keep safe by following a few safety rules: always wear a helmet, keep yourself visible to passing motorists, and ride with experienced cyclists. Although Washington State currently has no helmet laws (some communities do), it is wise to wear a helmet so you can decrease the risk of head, face, and neck injuries. Brain injuries can be very serious and even life-threatening, raising the importance of wearing a helmet.
Also, cycling injuries can be further prevented by increasing visibility during day or night. State law requires a white front light, reaching 500 feet, and a red rear reflector when riding a bike at night. Reflectors can include reflective tape on a regularly worn jacket or backpack, reflectors on pedals and wheel spokes, or a red rear light. During daylight, it’s always smart to wear bright or high-contrast colors.
Lastly, you can increase your safety by cycling with a club, such as the Chinook Cycling Club, where the cyclists go above and beyond state law to keep themselves and others safe.
If you have any questions or need an attorney regarding bicycle-related accidents and injuries, give Anderson Law a call at (509) 734-1345.