If you live in or around Oakland, California, you know that a growing number of people are commuting to and from work on their bicycle, as opposed to more traditional means of transportation.
While this is a great way to save both time and money, there's something you need to keep in mind: your safety.
It goes without saying that commuting on your bicycle is much different than doing so by bus or motor vehicle.
Here are several safety tips you should never lose sight of:
- Parked vehicles are just as dangerous as moving vehicles. Here's why: If someone opens one's door into your lane of travel, you could strike it head on. Even if you are able to swerve out of the way, it could still result in a serious accident.
- Watch for turning vehicles. For example, if a driver doesn't see you, he or she may make a right turn in front of you, thus putting you in a dangerous position.
- Don't startle pedestrians. As you ride your bicycle, you need to be courteous of pedestrians, such as by passing behind them and slowing down when you're in close proximity.
- Use body language to your advantage. You should always signal before making a turn. You should also make eye contact with drivers, as this helps you better communicate what you're thinking and what you're doing.
- Use a bicycle lane, when available. With more of these available than ever before, you should become familiar with driving in a bicycle lane. It's much safer than riding on the sidewalk or in traffic.
As a bicycle commuter, you should get into the habit of following these safety tips. When you combine them with the appropriate safety gear, such as a helmet, you can feel better about your commute to and from work.
If you are part of a bicycle accident for any reason, don't wait to call for help. You need to receive immediate medical attention, as you can suffer a variety of injuries in this type of crash.
Once you are stable and have time to review your accident, you can do so with the idea of protecting your legal rights.