So today, a cold day in December in Chicago, I was driving to work and I almost struck a bicyclist. Fortunately, I did not.
Ironically, I am a personal injury lawyer and have represented many bicyclists over the years that have been injured in bicycle/auto collisions. I’ve come to learn quite a bit about bicycle safety. Since there appears to be a lot more bicycles on the roads nowadays, even on cold Chicago days, I figured I’d share some of how bicyclists can stay safe. I know it’s a long shot, but I hope the bicyclist I almost hit today is able to read this article. Fingers crossed.
First of all, wear a helmet, regardless of your age. Most of my clients who have been seriously injured or worse over the years may not have needed my personal injury services if they were wearing a properly fitted helmet. Over 80% of fatalities can be prevented with a quality, well-fitting helmet. At a minimum, if you are an adult, you are setting an example for our children.
Second, wear highly visible clothing and stick reflector strips on your quality, well-fitting helmet. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to attach lights to your bike as well. The guy I almost hit this morning was wearing black, had no lights or reflector strips and you guessed it, no helmet either.
Third, if you can, and I know this is not always possible, but do your best to stay off of the roads. In addition to staying safe, you may have fun learning about trails and alternate routes. Of course, if you do need to be around cars, trucks and other vehicles, follow the rules of the road.
In closing, enjoy biking. I do. Just be safe and set an example. Children are watching you.