What to Know About Riding Bikes Safely
Commuters are taking to the streets on two wheels in a big way. As a cost effective and environmentally conscientious method of getting around – not to mention the inherent health benefits – more and more people are trading the drive for the ride.
Because of this surge in bicycle commuting, the streets have become a very different place, and Waterbury is no different. Bicycle lanes are being drawn all around the country, which typically make thinner and more treacherous roads for cyclists and drivers.
This means there are more bicycle accidents than ever before, and those instances will most likely increase in the coming years until comprehensive transportation reform takes place. The simple issue is drivers and cyclists have to do more with less road space, except in areas where sidewalks have been pulled back to make up for the lost space from bicycle lanes.
That’s why we’ve put together several tips and concepts that will be crucial for any cyclist to stay safe and protected while on a bicycle.
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Get Into Gear
For anyone operating a vehicle, it’s crucial to make sure your car is in proper working order. That means breaks, signals, and all the appropriate maintenance to make sure your car runs safely for yourself and those around you.
The exact same is true for cyclists. If your brakes are not working properly, you could hurl right into a busy intersection. If your gears are not oiled, or the handlebars won’t turn properly, you risk being struck by a car many times heavier than you, and running into pedestrians (who have much less protection than cyclists).
Adults not legally required to wear a helmet in Connecticut. But, for obvious reasons, it’s strongly advised. A helmet can spell completely different outcomes for head collisions, a choice that could have ramifications for the rest of your life.
For children 15 and under, Connecticut bicycle law (SB290, “Conor’s Law” to be exact) mandates they wear a helmet. For children under four, a regulation bike seat along with a fitted helmet are required to ride.
While not required, it is also advised to wear proper gloves and pads. That’s because the head is not the only thing to worry about hitting – most often when people are flung off a bicycle, they will reach out with their hands to break their fall.
Ride Along the Law
As cycling has become more popular, the laws surrounding pedestrian and automobiles interacting with them has become more extensive.
Bicycle laws in Connecticut dictate that cyclists must obey the exact same traffic laws as automobiles while on the road. That means waiting for all light signals, and paying attention to pedestrians in sidewalks.
It is also lawfully required that all cyclists use a headlight visible up to 500 feet while driving during the nighttime, similar to the automobile law requiring the use of headlights at night.
For more information regarding Connecticut cycling law, contact Moynahan Law today.
So What About Sidewalks?
Bicycling on a sidewalk is tricky business. While state law does not have a provision against riding on the sidewalk, municipalities can pass bylaws prohibiting sidewalk cycling.
In Connecticut, it is illegal to operate your bicycle while on the sidewalks. In fact, your bicycle can be confiscated by police officers – and they can issue you a fine – which no cyclist wants. While traveling on a sidewalk or through a crosswalk, cyclists must walk their bike.
What about Accidents?
Getting into an accident while riding your bicycle is tricky, and sometimes a very complex matter. At this point, the intersection of bicycle and automobile laws makes fault of accidents a convoluted issue.
Timothy C. Moynahan is the CEO and owner of Moynahan Partners, which offers business development consultancy, identifying strategic business partnerships and funding sources. He founded and heads the Moynahan Law Firm, Waterbury, Connecticut, and is “of counsel” to the Jin Law Group at 200 Park Avenue in New York. He is a sought-after and successful trial lawyer, earning the Super Lawyer of New England and Connecticut awards from 2009 to 2012 and Best Criminal Defense Attorney accolade in 2013.