Summer is a great time to be outdoors. If you’re looking to get more exercise, you may decide to ride your bicycle to work. Although other motorists are supposed to share the road with bikes, that may not always the case during rush hour. What steps can cyclists take to protect themselves on the main roadways?

Know the Laws

The state of Connecticut requires all riders under the age of 16 to wear a bicycle helmet. If you choose to wear one, make sure it fits your head well and feels comfortable. If a fall were to occur, you want your skull to be properly protected. Other state bicycle laws include:

  • One person per bike, unless it’s designed for two.
  • Just like cars, bicycles must yield to pedestrians.
  • Ride with traffic on the right side of the road.
  • Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars, but we recommend both.
  • Display a white light on the front and reflector on the back of your bike at night.

According to the Connecticut State Police, cyclists should not wear headphones or loose shoelaces while riding to increase their safety.

Remember Hand Signals

If a driver is not expecting a bike to appear at an intersection, it’s likely that person could be hit. Even if you are in the proper lane to turn or go straight, give other motorists fair warning of your maneuver. Think about it like a driver’s turn signal, which should be put on prior:

  • Left Turn: Left arm straight out
  • Right Turn: Right arm straight out
  • Stop: Left arm bent into an upside down “L”

Much like we tell the motorcycle community, it’s also essential to make eye contact with other motorists before proceeding at an intersection to make sure you’ve been seen.

Pay Attention to Surroundings

A 2017 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that regular use of a cell phone while driving has increased 46 percent since 2013. While cyclists themselves should also avoid instances of distracted driving, they should be on the lookout for distracted drivers.

If a driver is playing on the phone and runs a red light or stop sign, a cyclist could be seriously injured or killed. Much like being on a motorcycle, there is little protection on a bike in the event of an accident.

Regularly Inspect Your Bike

You likely would not ignore an issue with your car or truck, so why would you with a bicycle? Before heading out, make sure the tires are properly inflated and the brakes are working. If you haven’t used the bike in some time, make sure it is still properly fitted to your body. For instance, knees hitting the handlebars is a telltale sign you have outgrown the bicycle. A fitting will make your rides more comfortable!
For 80 years, Trantolo & Trantolo has been Connecticut’s premier personal injury law firm. If you or a loved one have been injured by a distracted driver while on your bicycle, contact one of our offices to pursue a claim today.