May is National Bike Month, which means it’s a great time to add some new safety habits to your routine when you’re commuting by car. The League of American Bicyclists estimates that the number of bicycle commuters is rising in all fifty U.S. states, as people take to bicycles to get more exercise, enjoy the fresh air, and reduce their impact on the environment.
Bicyclists in Oklahoma have the same right to use the roads as cars, as long as they obey traffic laws. This means that Oklahoma drivers have a responsibility to share the road safely with bikes as well as with cars. Experienced Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers recommend adding some “bicycle-safe” practices to your ordinary driving habits, like:
- Cut down on distractions. Many car crashes involving a bicyclist could have been avoided if the driver had noticed the bicyclist sooner. Improve your chances of avoiding an accident by putting away your cell phone when you drive, turning down the radio, and asking a passenger to help you navigate so you can focus on the road ahead.
- Give yourself extra time to travel. Even a few extra minutes will help reduce the frustration of being unable to pass a bicyclist. When you do pass, make sure the road ahead is clear, and leave half a lane between yourself and the bicyclist.
- Treat intersections as “high alert” areas. Intersections can make it particularly tough to spot a bicyclist, especially since the bicycle may be hidden behind or beside another vehicle when an intersection has multiple traffic lanes. Double-check for bicyclists before you proceed into an intersection, and move slowly enough to allow yourself to hit the brakes if one suddenly appears.
Attorney Ray Maples encourages both motorists and bicyclists to practice caution on the road and look out for the safety of others.