This year, Massachusetts is celebrating Bay State Bike Week (BSBW) from May 11 through May 19, 2019. BSBW comes with statewide events designed to encourage new bike riders to hit the roads and raise awareness about bicycle transportation. This includes emphasizing the importance of cyclists and motorists sharing the road safely.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists
- Follow all of the same road rules as vehicles, such as traffic rules, stops, and signals.
- Use your hands to signal when you plan to turn or change lanes.
- Slow down at intersections and take extra caution near turning vehicles.
- Prioritize your visibility, especially when it’s dark outside: bicycles being used at night must have a front white light, rear red reflector or light, reflectors visible from the sides, and pedal or ankle reflectors.
- Get off of your bicycle and walk it while going through crosswalks.
- Do not weave between lanes.
- Keep a five-foot distance between yourself and parked cars to avoid being struck by an opening door.
How important are Helmets?
According to MGL c.85 § 11B, Massachusetts’ primary bicycle law, very. In fact, bicyclists who are 16 years old are younger must wear a helmet on public ways, bicycle paths, or any public right-of-way. The helmet needs to be secured with straps, fit on the cyclist’s head, and meet the safety standards established by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
In a 2018 study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the effects of bike helmets by analyzing the findings of 55 studies published between 1989 and 2017. The researchers found thatbicyclists wearing helmets were at significantly less risk for a number of dangerous outcomes that can result from car-bike crashes. Cyclists with helmets had a:
- 48 percent reduction in head injuries
- 60 percent reduction in serious head injuries
- 53 percent reduction in traumatic brain injuries
- 23 percent reduction in face injuries
- 34 percent reduction in the number of seriously injured or killed cyclists
Safety Tips for Motorists
- Recognize that cyclists are more vulnerable than anyone in a car, putting them at a higher risk for serious injury or death in collisions
- Slow down and leave enough space for cyclists to navigate the roads and pass you safely.
- Check around you before opening a car door, especially if you’re parked near a bike lane.
- Stay patient. Know that bicyclists have the right to travel in the same lane as you (even if they’re going slower).
- If you must pass a cyclist, get as far away from them as possible before exiting and/or returning to your lane.
If you have been involved in an accident with a bicycle, call the experienced attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law today at (619) 391-6001 to discuss your legal options.
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