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Keeping bicyclists safe on the road in California

Across our state, over 100 people lose their lives in bicycle crashes every year, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In addition, hundreds of thousands of bicyclists suffer injuries - which are often quite serious - while riding in California annually.

Unfortunately, in many cases, there is very little the bicyclist can do to avoid a crash. Often, such collisions are the result of the negligent behavior of a motorist.

In an effort to keep bicyclists safer, some in California have suggested increasing the number of bike paths and lanes. Providing a separate area for bicycles to travel is one way to help protect them on the road.

It is also a good idea for bicyclists to be familiar with action they can take to make every effort to stay safe when on the road. One of the most obvious ways to help avoid serious injuries, particularly traumatic brain injuries, is wearing a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation whenever you are riding a bike. Although only those under 18 years of age are required to wear a helmet when on a bicycle, it is one of the best ways to help avoid serious harm in a crash.

Another way to stay safe when on a bike is to make sure you are easy to spot by motorists on the road. You can do that by wearing clothing with reflective panels and making sure your bike has lights and reflectors when riding at night. In addition, use hand signals to indicate to motorists when you are going to make a turn.

Finally, when you are sharing the road with cars and trucks, make sure you are traveling in the same direction as the flow of traffic. In some locations, roads will have a designated bike lane, in which you can travel. When a bike lane is not available, travel in the lane of traffic closest to the shoulder of the road. The California Department of Motor Vehicles suggests riding near the center of the traffic lane, if it is narrow and there is no shoulder on the road - often the case when cars are parked on the street - to ensure motorists can see you easily. Of course, any time you are riding by parked cars, you run the risk of suffering an injury in a "dooring" accident. While it may not always be possible to do so, riding far enough away from the parked cars to avoid a door opening suddenly is a good idea.

At Piering Law Firm, we have a unique understanding of safety issues for bicyclists and the challenges they face following a bike crash. Rob Piering has a passion for cycling and is a member of the Cycle Folsom Club. Protecting bicyclists' safety and ensuring their rights are protected following an accident are important to him and his firm. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bike collision in California, you will need a knowledgeable legal professional on your side.

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