Always Wear a Helmet and Other Bicycle Safety Reminders
Whether you bike to commute to work or just enjoy it as a pastime, read our bicycle safety reminders in order to stay injury free during this cycling season.
With spring well underway and temperatures in New Mexico quickly rising, many Albuquerque residents are hopping on their bicycles again – to commute to work, to get their cardio workout for the week or simply to enjoy a pleasurable ride along a scenic route. Without a doubt, bike riding is both a healthy and enjoyable activity. Better mental health, lower heart disease, and cancer risk, and stronger immune system have all been mentioned among the scientifically-proven benefits of cycling. In addition, biking to work is also a viable yet relatively easily-attainable way to reduce one’s carbon footprint and protect the environment.
Beneficial though it may be, regular cycling doesn’t come without its risks. And even though Albuquerque boasts more than 400 miles of bike paths and trails, and has been mentioned among the U.S. 50 most bike-friendly cities, one study also showed it had “the highest cyclist death rate” in the U.S. In addition, New Mexico as a whole has actually been named “the nation’s second-deadliest state for bicyclists”. Therefore, the importance of taking appropriate safety precautions while biking cannot be overstated. In this article, we will review some of the most important bicycle safety reminders that Ron Bell Injury Lawyers would like to urge all New Mexico cyclists to apply at the beginning of this cycling season.
Always Wear a Helmet
It’s true – wearing a bicycle helmet can be a little uncomfortable. However, according to one study, it can also reduce the risk of fatal head injury by almost 70%. The importance of wearing a helmet is clearly seen when taking into consideration the fact that, in 2017, 54% of cyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents were not wearing a helmet, as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Without a doubt, then, wearing a helmet can greatly increase a cyclist’s safety. Therefore, while state laws in New Mexico only require people under 18 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, it should actually be a part of standard cycling equipment for any cyclist. After all, donning a helmet is a small price to pay when the alternative is a risk of death or serious head injury.
Use Bike Lanes Whenever Possible
Some research has pointed to a positive correlation between bike lane use and a significant reduction in cycling accident risk. One study conducted in Toronto and Vancouver has shown that the chance of injury drops by about 50% when riding on a road with a bike lane – and by 90% when using a protected bike lane – in comparison to cycling on a major city street without a dedicated lane for bicycle traffic. Therefore, strive to use a bike lane whenever possible – even if it means taking the so-called “scenic route” to your destination.
Wear High Visibility Clothing
Many motor vehicle accidents where cyclists get injured are caused by the fact that bike riders are relatively hard to spot in city traffic among bigger and faster vehicles. Therefore, by increasing your visibility on the road you are actually decreasing your risk of being involved in an accident and suffering serious injury. A review of scientific research related to the use of visibility aids by pedestrians and cyclists found that “fluorescent materials in yellow, red and orange colors” are most effective at increasing visibility in the daytime. However, it is equally important to note that even the brightest clothing is virtually useless when it comes to increasing a cyclist’s visibility and safety before sunrise, at dusk or after dark. In these low-light conditions, cyclists must use additional gear such as head and tail lamps, as well as reflective clothing, in order to increase visibility and ensure a safe commute.
As cyclists ourselves, the team at Ron Bell Injury Lawyers is sure that applying these simple suggestions will help bicycle riders in Albuquerque and across New Mexico to enjoy a safe and injury-free cycling season.