Spring is just around the corner, and these warmer days we’ve had over the past couple of weeks have folks dusting off their bicycles and hitting the road and trails. Most of these fair-weather riders are amateurs. As a Tulsa personal injury lawyer, I have handled a number of bicycle-related claims in the past few years, and cyclists are hit and killed every year in Tulsa and surrounding counties, both amateur riders and experts alike. Tulsa and the rest of Oklahoma can be a very bicycle-friendly place to ride, but not without taking some appropriate safety precautions.
Here are some tips for safe riding:
Always wear a helmet. I know – you think it looks lame, and it messes up your hair. If your helmet is a bit uncomfortable, imagine how uncomfortable it would be if your brains were splattered on the windshield of the car of some inattentive driver. Imagine how sweet your hair would look matted with blood and with a crack in your skull. Imagine how your kids would turn out without you around. Now helmets don’t seem so lame or uncomfortable, do they?
Follow all traffic laws. Learn the cycling rules of the road for your area and follow them. Always use hand signals when turning at intersections. There’s nothing motorists pay more attention to than hand signals from bicyclists. Oh wait – that’s completely false: Most motorists barely pay attention to the road and are too busy talking or texting. Never assume that you will actually be seen or your signals will be understood by a motorist.
Be defensive in your riding! Assume that every car out there doesn’t see you.
Be predictable in your riding! Don’t make sudden turns or cut across traffic.
Placing your feet firmly on the pedals of the bike will help reduce the “Wheeeeee!” sound emitted from your mouth while zooming down a hill.
Visibility is crucial when biking, especially at night. Short of riding with a lit highway flare in each hand, make sure you have the appropriate reflectors on your bike and clothing, and invest in a set of head and tail lamps for your bike. These lamps have become much less expensive in the past few years. Or you could get one of those awesome orange triangle flags attached to an 8 foot fiberglass pole like that dork Timmy Wilson had in the third grade, but they are hard to find these days.
Make sure your bike is in good condition and is properly tuned up.
If a spoiled brat like Francis Buxton steals your bike, go on a hilarious and heartwarming journey through the American Southwest to get it back. Hint: There isn’t a basement at the Alamo, so don’t waste your time.
Tulsa’s municipal code governs the rules of the road for cyclists (and motorists), which can be found here at chapter 10. There are also several great resources out there, including How to Not Get Hit By Cars. In Tulsa, there are several clubs available to join, which can be an excellent resource from the beginner to the expert rider, including Tulsa Bicycle Club. Several bike stores in the area also have weekly community rides for all levels of riders.
I know that I’ve just scratched the surface on safe riding tips here. If you are an avid cyclist, or just want to chime in, please leave a post and add your advice.
If you or a loved one has been hit by a careless motorist while riding your bicycle, give us a call to speak with a qualified and compassionate Tulsa personal injury lawyer today! 800-ASK-WLAW or 918-641-4044.