Promoted by the League of American Bicyclists since 1956, National Bike Month is observed every May to highlight the benefits of safe biking. In Rhode Island, biking has become more and more popular due to its health and environmental benefits. (Add in over 60 miles of off-road bike paths, and it's no wonder biking is a big deal in the Ocean State.) However, when negligence or carelessness is present, a fun bike ride can easily turn dangerous.
To stay safe on the bike path this National Bike Month, follow Karns & Kerrison's top-5 biking tips:
- Always wear a helmet
This may be very basic biking advice, but riding without a helmet greatly increases your chances of injury. Always make sure to wear one. It is also important to ensure that your helmet is well made and fits properly.
- Know Rhode Island bicycle laws
In Providence and throughout the state, bikes are considered vehicles, which means bicyclists must follow the same traffic laws as other motorists. This includes traveling in the same direction as traffic, signaling (with your arms and hands) when turning, stopping at stoplights and signs, and even yielding to others on the road when they have the right of way.
- Don't bike at night
Try to bike during the day instead of at night. Motorists have a much harder time seeing bicyclists once it gets dark due to limited visibility, and accidents are much more likely to occur. If you do go out at night, the law requires that you have a working bike light to increase nighttime visibility. It can also help to wear neon, bright, or reflective clothing.
- Stick to one person per bike seat
Per state law, it is prohibited for a bike to carry more riders than it has seats. This law was created in the interest of public safety, so it would be wise to follow it. Overloaded bikes are prone to accidents — extra riders may fall off a lot easier than if they had their own seats, particularly when turning, going downhill at high speeds, and riding on bumpy roads.
- Ride in single file
If you are riding with a group of other bicyclists, stay in a single-file line and leave plenty of space between yourself and the bicyclist in front of you. Leaving ample space will allow you enough time to stop safely should another bicyclist stop short. Not to mention, riding in single file takes up less space on the road, so collisions with motor vehicles are less likely to occur than if you were riding next to one or two bicyclists.
Bicycle Safety Is Our Priority
At Karns & Kerrison, we represent the victims of bike accidents in Providence, Middletown, and across the state. Although bicyclists are rarely at fault in the event of an accident, the at-fault party often tries to blame them. If this has happened to you, our trial lawyers will protect you from being taken advantage of. Since 1974, our family firm has fought to increase bicycle safety throughout the state via legal action; we remain fully equipped to advocate for you.
If you have been injured, contact Karns & Kerrison online to get your free consultation. Our Providence attorney team can also be reached at (888) 281-3100.