Bicyclists deserve to be safe when sharing the road with cars

With warmer weather on the way, more bicyclists will be on the roads. Now is a good time for a reminder about the dangers of car-bicycle accidents.

It is too easy for drivers to forget that cyclists have the same rights as motorists. In addition, under Alabama law, drivers must keep at least three feet between their vehicle and the cyclist. If the road is too narrow for this, drivers may need to slow down and wait until it’s safe to pass the bicycle. Drivers going more than 25 miles per hour, driving a large vehicle or driving on a multi-lane road should keep more than three feet between themselves and a cyclist. This may mean changing lanes in order to safely pass the cyclist.

Injuries and deaths in Alabama and nationwide

When vehicles and bikes collide, devastating accidents may occur. Drive Safe Alabama reports that in 2016, there were over 200 bicycle injuries and four deaths. Nearly 20 percent of bicycle crash injuries involved children ages 15 and under.

The National Safety Council’s Injury Facts report states that in 2015, over 488,000 cyclists nationwide were seen in emergency rooms after a bicycle injury. Fatalities from car-bicycle accidents nationwide numbered approximately 1,100 that year.

There are almost 80 million bicyclists across the country. To keep yourself safe, remember danger zones such as intersections, stoplights and roads without a bike lane. Nothing can prevent all accidents, but if cyclists and drivers pay careful attention to each other and the law, the number of accidents may decrease.

Bicyclists have rights

If the driver of a car or truck hits you, you can seek compensation for your injuries, medical bills and lost income. Depending on the injury, you may need considerable financial compensation to cover your losses. You may want to speak with a lawyer to ensure you understand your rights.

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