May is designated as National Bicycle Safety Month. This is particularly appropriate for our area, as May is also the month in which bicycle activities ramp up for the summer in Portland. Many cyclists are looking forward to group rides and other events going on throughout the city over the next few months. However, it is important to remember that bike accidents in Portland are unfortunately common. To protect your safety, our Portland bicycle accident lawyer highlights some of the potential hazards and offers a list of safety tips.
Be Aware Of Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents In Portland
Bicycle Safety Month is a nationwide campaign held annually, which focuses on ways to help protect bicyclists. Whether you ride for fun or as a primary means of getting around the city, it is important to be aware of the potential hazards and how bicycle accidents in Portland often occur.
Despite efforts on the part of the City of Portland to increase bicycle safety, dozens of cyclists suffer serious, potentially life-threatening personal injuries each year. In the majority of cases, reckless behavior on the part of motorists is to blame. Among the most common causes include:
- Distracted driving, such as texting and talking on cell phones while behind the wheel or engaging in any activity that diverts attention from the road;
- Driving under the influence, which may involve alcohol, recreational drugs, and medications;
- Dooring accidents, which is when a driver opens their car door suddenly, potentially impacting bicyclists in areas with on-street parking;
- Failing to yield, a common cause of bicycle accidents in intersections and crosswalks;
- Following too closely, which can result in potentially fatal rear-end bicycle accidents;
- Not looking before pulling out of parking spaces or making turns;
- Running red lights and stop signs, or disregarding other traffic signs and signals;
- Speeding and going too fast for conditions, increasing the risk of life-threatening bicycle accident injuries.
Reducing Your Risks of Bicycle Accidents In Portland
The months of May through August are a busy time for bicycling in Portland, with numerous activities scheduled for cyclists of all ages. Group rides are held almost every day during the week and there are numerous large events, such as Pedalpalooza and Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride.
Whether you attend these festivities or prefer quieter rides through local neighborhoods, it is important to make safety a top priority. At the beginning of the riding season, make sure to perform routine maintenance tasks, such as oiling bike chains and checking tire pressure. Make sure brakes are working properly and that you have working head and tail lights, particularly if you intend to ride at night.
Once you are on the road, take standard safety precautions to prevent bicycle accidents and reduce the risk of serious personal injuries. These include:
- Wear a helmet, which is one of the surest ways to help prevent potentially life-threatening head injuries;
- Wear light, bright colors, which can help increase your visibility among motorists;
- Never ride your bike if you have any amount of alcohol in your system or are under the influence of drugs or medications;
- Use hand signals to indicate stops or when turning and merging into traffic;
- Pay attention to what is going on around you at all times and avoid using earbuds, which can cause you not to hear signs of an impending crash;
- Cross only at designated intersections and stick to bike lanes, when possible;
- Never assume a driver sees or that they will stop or yield the right of way.
In the event you are involved in a bicycle accident, try to get a description of the driver and notify the police immediately. Make sure an accident report is filled out and includes contact information for witnesses and all parties involved. Seek medical attention right away as well, as follow your doctor’s instructions regarding treatment and activity restrictions.
Contact Our Portland Bicycle Accident Attorneys And Request A Consultation
Bicycle accidents in Portland are unfortunately common and are more likely to occur during the warm weather months. To protect yourself, it is important to be aware of the risks and to take standard safety precautions. If you are involved in a crash or collision, get the professional legal help you need at the Johnston Law Firm.
Our Portland bicycle accident attorneys hold at-fault drivers accountable and help you get you compensation you need to recover from your injuries. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our office online today.