Another beautiful Utah spring is underway and many locals are enjoying the outdoor freedom that comes with the warmer weather. Bicycle enthusiasts have fine-tuned their bikes, strapped on their helmets, and hit the pavement for exercise and enjoyment. The attorneys at the Christensen &Hymas would like to start this bicycle season with some safety tips and reminders for all of Utah’s cyclists.
First and foremost, wear a helmet.
Although Utah law does not require helmets for bicyclists over the age of eighteen, every cyclist should wear a helmet as a safety precaution. Helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by 85%, yet a study conducted by the Utah Department of Health found that only 19% of Utahns consistently wear helmets while riding. Please remember to always wear a helmet for your own protection. This one simple act can save your life.
Always remember to follow the rules of the road when riding in urban areas.
Utah state law designates bicycles as moving vehicles, requiring them to obey all traffic signs and lane markers. When riding your bike, be sure to follow all traffic laws and ride in designated bicycle lanes where available. Always ride with the flow of traffic on the right-hand side of the road.
Use hand signals to communicate your intentions to motorists.
If you do not know the proper hand signals or how to utilize them, simply log on to YouTube.com and type “bicycle hand signals” in the search bar. This search will yield many instructional videos that will show you how to properly use bicycle hand signals.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Listening to your iPod or MP3 player can become a distraction and prevent you from hearing what is going on around you. As an added safety precaution, you should avoid listening to your music player when riding your bike, especially if you are cycling in urban areas with heavy traffic around you.
Bicycling at night presents its own set of dangers.
Taking some simple precautions can help you avoid a serious Utah bicycle accident.
- Always dress to be seen by wearing brightly-colored clothing and avoiding dark clothes. You can purchase reflective clothing from bicycle shops and recreation stores that will increase your visibility at night.
- Also, be sure your bicycle is equipped with a headlight in the front a rear reflector on the back.
Of course, following safety guidelines does not guarantee you will never be involved in an accident. Even the safest of bicyclists can end up in a serious accident. Many bicycling accidents involve motor vehicles, resulting in serious injuries to the cyclist. Kenneth Christensen, founder of the Christensen Law Firm, is an expert in Utah personally injury laws and has authored “The Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook.” This book discusses the legalities involved in Utah bicycle accidents and provides bicycle accident victims with important information on how to work with insurance companies. This book is FREE to Utah citizens as a public service. For a free copy of this book, or one of Mr. Christensen’s many Utah accident books, visit www.utahaccidentbooks.com or call 801.506.0800.
Photo courtesy of TrailSource.com