Bicycling has been on the rise in the US over the past decade
While some people are dusting off the bike to get in shape, the wealth of this boom in bicycling is caused by more and more people choosing the bike over their car to commute to work.
Cycling to Work is on The Rise
Nationwide, biking to work has increased approximately 60% in the last decade. This is one of the largest increases in commuting modes in recent years.
Philadelphia is one city with the highest percentage of bikers. In Philly, bikers account for 2% of all commuters. This number may not seem significant, but it is over three times more than the US average (0.6%). Bicycling is on the rise for several reasons. The first is that people are becoming more concerned with their health and the health of the environment. Second, biking to work reduces a person's carbon footprint and is a healthier alternative to driving.
Secondly, many people turned to bikes as a cheap commuting alternative to save money, especially with the soaring gas prices of the time. Also supporting this bike-to-work trend is that many cities and communities are making significant steps and developments to make biking safer and more appealing to citizens. Things like bike-share programs, bike-only lanes/streets, and better traffic patterns are all helping bikers rider more guarded.
Bike Accidents In Pennsylvania
Despite these efforts to make biking work safer for riders, unfortunately, bike accidents are an inevitable occurrence. In 2015, there were 45,000 bicyclists injuries in traffic accidents; 818 bike riders died as a result of their accidents. This only accounts for reported accidents, many more could have been injured in non-reported accidents. Cyclists are much more exposed than automobile operators, making for much higher fatalities and serious injuries.
Because of this heightened risk and potential for damage cyclists have, it is essential to know what to do after an accident and which top-rated Philadelphia accident attorney to contact. After all, you want to ensure you recover all of the damages owed to you after your accident. Only the best PA injury attorney can do this for you. That's why it is so important to know the Dos and Dont's of biking to work. The safer you can make your morning bicycle commute, the less likely you'll find yourself in a bike accident in Pennsylvania.
The Do's Of Biking To Work
These are all tips and things to remember when hopping on your bike for your work commute. Following this list will help keep you safer and less prone to accidents.
- Do wear a helmet. This may seem obvious, but there are plenty of bikers that don't wear a helmet. Perhaps, they are still worried about being made fun of by the "cool kids." Hopefully, your coworkers aren't so malicious as your childhood bullies because wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of injury and fatality. In 2015, nearly every cyclist (97%) who was killed was not wearing a helmet.
- Do share the road appropriately. Automobile drivers are required to give cyclists a 4-foot bubble of space, especially when passing. But, you also have a responsibility to stay over and provide those cars with enough room to pass you safely.
- Do dress appropriately for your bike ride. While you may be on your way to work, it is better to pack your work clothes in a backpack and change them once you arrive. Loose slacks can get caught in the bike chain, dress shoes have less grip, and may accidentally slip off the pedal. Some bike commuters even tie their pant legs back if they are too loose.
- Do make yourself noticeable by drivers. Whether you choose to wear reflective gear, put lights and reflectors on your bike, or both, being easily seen is very important when biking to work. If you are in an accident, it can even be used as evidence supporting the at-fault driver's negligence. Your attorney will point out that this gear made you very visible and the only reasonable explanation for the accident was the drivers' lack of attention/care.
- Do check the weather before you leave. Not everyone has the option of choosing between taking their bike or car, but if you do, then there may be some mornings where the latter is much safer, particularly if it is raining or there is little visibility. Wet road conditions make biking much more hazardous, and fog can make it hard for drivers to see you, even if you have reflective gear and lights.
- Do watch for hazards. Again, as a cyclist, you're much more exposed than a driver of a car. You're also much more prone to being tripped up by a road hazard. While cars roll effortlessly over large potholes or uneven surfaces, bicycles do not. Commuting to work on a bike means constantly staying vigilant of not only the cars and other vehicles around you but also the road directly in front of you. All it takes is one small bump to toss you over the handlebars!
The Dont's Of Biking to Work
These are all things and behaviors to avoid when commuting to work on a bicycle. The following items can make you more prone to injury and make it harder to recover damages from an accident, even with the best accident lawyer in Pennsylvania at your side.
- Don't ignore or forget the Pennsylvania bicycle safety laws. These laws are intended to keep you and other commuters safe. If you follow every law responsibly, then you'll help ensure an accident-free commute each day. If an accident does occur, following these laws will help you and your PA accident attorney build your case against the at-fault driver by demonstrating that you were following all the rules.
- Don't hog the road. Some bike riders abuse their four-foot bubble and take up a more significant portion of the road than they should. This can be dangerous for the cyclist as it can make it difficult for cars to pass safely. Let's face it; we've all gotten mad at a bike rider who takes up way too much of the road. Sharing the road is a responsibility by everyone. It could be difficult for your top Philly accident attorney to recover damages for you if you were negligently ignoring this responsibility at the time of the accident.
- Don't ride too close to parked cars. While you certainly want to give drivers enough room to pass around you safely, you don't want to ride too close to them if there are parked cars on the side of the road. A driver or passenger could open a door unexpectedly, and you won't have time to react.
- Don't ride your bike to work tired, drunk, or distracted. As mentioned, bicyclists have to worry about the vehicles around them and what is immediately in front of them. When you are distracted or impaired by fatigue, a smartphone device, or alcohol, you're less able to pay attention to the potential hazards around you. Some bikers don't consider riding their bike while intoxicated risky because it is less dangerous than getting behind the wheel. However, it is still illegal, irresponsible, and negligent.
- Don't forget to signal turns. One of the most common reasons for bike accidents is that the rider failed to signal their turn. You can't assume that drivers are going to react according to you. Failing to use proper signals on a bike could make it harder for even the best accident lawyer in Philadelphia to recover damages for you after an accident.
- Don't neglect your bike's maintenance. Just like cars and other motor vehicles, bicycles require maintenance and care. If you don't maintain your bike and routinely check for damages, it could break down and leave you stranded, late for work and even injured if the malfunction happens at a bad time. If you haven't used your bike in a while, it is a good idea to take it for a test ride in a quiet, contained area.
- Don't assume that car drivers see you. Even with reflective gear and lights, bicycles can be hard to see, especially if the other driver is distracted by a device or something else on or around the roadway. Never assume that drivers see you and know you are there or signaling a turn. When possible, try and make direct eye contact, so you know that they are looking at you and not something else.
- Don't forget your helmet. While this was also covered in the Do section, it is easily the most important thing to remember, which means it is worth reiterating. Wearing a helmet can save your life.
If you're thinking of switching to the bike for your morning commute, it's good to know and review these Dos and Don'ts of biking to work. So whether you're looking to enjoy the last few months of summer, get in better shape or only save a little on gas, biking is an excellent alternative to driving or using public transportation.
Hire an Attorney if you were in a Bike Accident
But, it can also be dangerous. Cyclists are more challenging for drivers to see and are more prone to hazards on the road. Riders have to take extra care to ensure their safety and the safety of others. If you've been in an accident on your bicycle and want to recover damages for your injuries, you need the best bike accident attorney in Philadelphia. Well protect your rights and help ensure a successful case while also helping you understand each step of the process and all of your available options.