Why To Stay Safe When Riding A Bike To Work
In America, bikes are big. Last year bikers spent more than six billion dollars on new bicycles, parts and accessories, according to a U.S. Bicycle Market 2012 Report. In metropolitan areas, bikes can be a quick and inexpensive mode of transportation. And in warmer, southern states they can be enjoyed year round.
Picture yourself cruising along on a sunny Tampa beach on your favorite bike–nice work if you can get it. For leisurely pleasure, fitness, or competitive sport, nothing can beat a bike. Bicyclists who commute to work can realize significant financial savings compared to motorists. However they may have some special concerns when in transit.
City Rush Hour Traffic
Cars and motorcycles are often too stingy or to hurried to share the roadway. Congested traffic situations can result in injury very quickly, and the bicyclist is clearly at a protective disadvantage. Even wearing a bicycle helmet is not always enough. In a flash that beach-side ride can turn into a Tampa car accident complete with broken bones and lacerations.
Bike riders face many of the same disadvantages as motorcyclists, but motorcyclists are largely restricted to the highway and are easier to see. Bicycles have fewer restrictive riding options and can stop and start more easily. Controlling the bike and peripheral alertness can be crucial to safety. Bicyclists should plan ahead to leave early for work, take their time, and be mindful of frantic, distracted drivers.
Bike Injuries vs Work Injuries
The ultimate objective of riding a bike to work is not always economics and time efficiency. The true objective is arriving at work in one piece. It is important for any biker to remember that being late for work won’t be as injurious as wrecking the bike while rushing to clock in. Serious injury can create a need for personal medical leave.
Injuries suffered in transit to work are not covered by workers compensation insurance and the time allowed for personal sick leave is limited by law. And an injured rider is not eligible for unemployment benefits. Unemployment is a claim that the individual can work, but they have been terminated or laid off through no fault of their own.
Any bicycle enthusiast who is injured in an auto accident will probably have a legal claim against at least one negligent respondent. Bicyclists are considered pedestrians and have the right of way in most cases. However, the legal doctrine of reasonable assumption of risk can impact a court decision in some cases.
Many accidents occur because a motorist is attempting to avoid hitting a bike rider, which can easily result in death. Bikers who do not have standing against a negligent party for a personal injury claim are liable for their own doctor bills, so not only can an accident result in loss of income, but a significant amount of debt can build in medical bills. Any rider involved in an accident should consult an attorney because the legal red tape can get complicated.
Riding a bicycle to work is great for the body and the environment, but the rider should always be alert to potential calamity and rigorously adhere to safety rules of the road. Remember, the objective is not just time management and economics. The objective is a safe arrival.
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell salutes stout-hearted two-wheelers everywhere. She hopes their adherence to safety rules and use of protective gear will help them avoid calamity whether it’s a Tampa car accident or a crash in Chicago.
Photo credit #1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/56789206@N08/8724327900/
Photo credit #2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/3490741624/
Photo credit #3: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjmonty/2783970763/