Some tragic bicycling accidents in California this summer have highlighted the need for bicyclists and motorists to exercise extra caution when sharing the road. Last month, a sailor riding a bicycle on Camp Pendleton was struck by a car and killed.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles reports that each year over 100 Californians are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. The DMV recommends that four basic safety tips be followed in order to avoid collisions:
- Maintain control of the bicycle. This includes making sure your bicycle is properly fitted to your frame, which makes it easier to drive. Also, never operate a bicycle if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Protect yourself. Wear a helmet!! Under California law, individuals under 18 are required to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle on a public road.
- Be visible, alert, and communicate your intentions. Keep alert for the actions of other drivers while biking. Be ready to stop or take evasive action if necessary. Signal before making turns or changing lanes. Make sure that you are visible by wearing light or brightly colored clothes. California law also requires bicyclists to use lights or reflectors when biking at night.
- Ride with traffic. Ride in the same direction as traffic next to you. Ride on the right, but not so far that you could hit the curb, which could cause you to lose your balance.