Whether you hit the trails on weekends or commute daily, being a cyclist means navigating busy streets and various terrain that can be hazardous at times. Safety, therefore, is paramount when you’re out on two wheels. One crucial element you can’t afford to ignore is visibility. When you’re cycling, it’s important to make sure that you can be seen easily by other motorists and commuters.
Why Visibility Matters
When it comes to protecting yourself as a cyclist, your first line of defense is visibility. “I didn’t see them” is a common phrase heard from motorists after being involved in a bicycle accident. By managing your level of visibility through the right clothing, gear, and cycling behavior, you can ensure that you are seen by all users on the road. This not only enhances your safety but can also support your injury claim if you’re involved in an accident, as explained by www.vdlegal.com. A bicycle accident can have serious consequences, so taking the right steps to ensure your safety is vital.
Ensuring Visibility on the Road
Beyond having the necessary protective gear, such as a helmet and knee guards, there are several simple steps you can take to ensure you remain visible when cycling.
Wear Bright and Reflective Clothing
If you’re cycling during the day opt for bright or vivid colours like neon yellow, orange, or pink. These colors can be clearly seen even at a reasonable distance, helping to make sure motorists and other commuters don’t miss you. At night, reflective clothing works to reflect headlights and streetlights in the dark, drawing more attention to you and ensuring you can be seen.
Use Lights and Reflectors
When riding at night, most states require you to have both a white front light and a red rear light. However, you can take it a step further by equipping your bicycle with wheel reflectors, spoke lights, and even a flashing red taillight. As a result, your visibility will be substantially increased from a variety of different angles.
Adapt Your Riding Behavior
The manner in which you ride can also have an impact on your level of visibility. Always strive to establish visibility by positioning yourself in a way that is conscious of your surroundings and aware of other commuters around you. Use hand signals to indicate turns or stops, make eye contact with other drivers at intersections, and never assume a driver can see you. Furthermore, when you’re behind a vehicle, avoid riding in their blind spots, as they can lead to an accident if they can’t see you.
Follow the Rules of the Road
It may go without saying, but following the rules of the road and abiding by traffic laws is one of the best ways to remain visible. Be sure to obey road signs and traffic lights, and refrain from swerving, or driving between lanes. In essence, avoid riding in unpredictable ways so that motorists can keep you in sight and stay aware of your presence. The better you fit into normal traffic flow, the better your chances of staying visible and safe.
The Legal Perspective
Being visible isn’t just about safety; it can serve as a legal safeguard in a bicycle accident.
In the event that an accident does take place, visibility may end up being a central factor in deciding who was at fault. In many states, the standard for determining liability in cases involving personal injuries is known as comparative negligence. This means that the degree of responsibility attributable to each party is evaluated.
In the event of a personal injury claim, taking all the necessary steps to ensure your safety and maximize your visibility can support your claim and absolve you of any blame. Due to your actions, it would be difficult for the opposing party to claim that you were at fault due to a lack of visibility on your part. With this, you can avoid any legal penalties and gain an advantage when claiming damages or insurance.
Evidence of Due Diligence
Furthermore, by wearing appropriate attire and obeying state requirements regarding lights and reflectors, you are doing more than just complying with the law; you are also accumulating proof of having exercised due diligence.
Due diligence indicates that you have made reasonable and necessary efforts to avoid an injury from occurring. It supports that you did everything you were supposed to do and should not be held legally accountable for the injury. In the event that your case is brought before a judge, having proof that demonstrates you made every effort to be seen could prove to be extremely helpful.
Other Steps to Take to Ensure Your Safety
Maximizing your visibility on the road is certainly an important factor for cyclists, but it is not the only safety precaution that you should focus on. In addition to bright clothing, reflective materials, and lights, you can further ensure your safety by:
Conducting Regular Maintenance Checks
Be sure to conduct regular maintenance checks on your bicycle to ensure that it is always in the best possible riding condition. Pay special attention to the brakes, tires, and lights on your bicycle. This can significantly reduce the chances of having an unexpected breakdown that could put you in danger or cause an accident.
Being Aware of Your Surroundings
By staying alert to potential hazards, such as potholes, debris, or erratic drivers, you can avoid an accident. Improving your skills and knowledge of safe riding practices can also be helpful.
Wearing Your Safety Gear
It’s also extremely important to wear your protective when cycling. From your helmet to gloves, guards, and clothing, the right safety gear can protect you from serious injury and support your injury claim if you do have an accident.
Visibility is not just nice to have, but rather, it is an absolute necessity. The more people who can see you, the safer you are. In many states, this is not only a sound principle but also the law. If cycling is your passion, then making the investment to protect yourself goes without saying.
Keep yourself safe, make sure you can be seen, and enjoy the ride!