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Tips to prevent being involved in a bicycle accident

Riding a bicycle is often regarded as a leisurely and fun activity. While biking can certainly be fun and serve as a good form of exercise, today, a growing number of Ohio residents rely upon bicycles for everyday transportation needs.

No longer relegated to only designated paths and trails, many bicyclists now share the road with drivers which increase the likelihood of a car and bicycle accident. There are numerous safety laws in the state of Ohio that govern the behaviors of both motorists and bicyclists. These laws exist to keep drivers, passengers and bicyclists safe and should be adhered to at all times.

In Ohio, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle. As such, individuals who ride bicycles are allowed to ride on any street or road throughout the state, the one exception being that bicycles are not allowed on state freeways. Drivers who encounter bicyclists would be wise to ensure they provide the rider with ample room, both when following behind and passing a bicycle. The majority of car accidents involving bicycles occur at intersections. These accidents often result when a driver fails to see a bicyclist or a bicyclist fails to signal to indicate a right or left-hand turn.

Individuals who ride bicycles and share the road with cars and trucks must be vigilant and focused when doing so. To help prevent being hit by a car or truck, bicyclists would be wise to ensure they know and follow all traffic laws. For example, much like a driver is required to use a signal light, riders must use hand signals to indicate lane changes or turns.

Additionally, bicyclists should ride in the same direction as traffic and remain in right lane of traffic and towards the right. To remain visible when it's dark out, bicyclists are required to have lights on both the front and back of their bicycle.

In some cases, despite a bicyclist's best efforts to remain safe, a car and bicycle accident may occur. Individuals impacted by such accidents typically suffer serious injuries including those to the head, spine and limbs. Bicyclists who have been injured due to the negligent acts of a driver may choose to take legal action.

Source: West Lake Bay Village Observer, "Sharing the road: Traffic rules apply to drivers and cyclists alike," Pat McGannon, Oct. 29, 2013

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