Riding a bicycle is a popular activity for people of all ages in Virginia, but crashes (especially those involving motor vehicles) often cause serious injuries. There are several ways individuals may reduce their risk of accidents and injuries when riding their bicycles.
According to data from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, bicyclists face a higher risk of injury on the road than passengers in motor vehicles. In 2018, over 850 bicyclists died in traffic crashes in the United States. Statistics from the same study show that bicycle fatalities in urban areas increased by nearly half from 2009 to 2018.
Safety gear helps prevent crashes and injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides safety tips for bicyclists to help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. According to the NHTSA, a properly fitting helmet is the most important piece of safety gear for bicyclists. Riders may use reflective and/or bright-colored clothing to make it easier for others to see them. The NHTSA encourages bicyclists to use front and rear lights when riding in the dark.
Defensive driving rules apply to bicyclists
Although many individuals learn defensive driving strategies relating to motor vehicles, bicyclists may practice these methods as well. The NHTSA encourages bicyclists to ride in the same direction as traffic and obey all lights, signals and laws, just as drivers do. Bicyclists must also be aware of road hazards, such as rocks, gravel and train tracks, that may cause loss of control. It is essential for bicyclists to avoid distracting behaviors, such as listening to music or using a smartphone, in order to maintain full awareness of the road and surrounding traffic.