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Riding the Road
Like many people in our community, I love riding my bike on the roads and trails surrounding Fort Collins. We live in a unique part of Colorado, defined by incredible terrain suited for every kind of cyclist, from the casual cyclist or the commuter to the athlete. As both an attorney and cycling enthusiast, I can’t stress the importance of bike safety enough.
For one, having the proper equipment for your ride is a must. This includes a helmet, safety glasses, gloves, reflectors, and a form of identification. Each of these items serves an important purpose in protecting you when you’re on the road. Take the helmet, for instance. When you’re traveling down the road on a bike, you can easily reach speeds of 10 to 20 miles per hour. On the open road, cyclists regularly surpass these speeds. At a glance, these numbers don’t seem high, but when there is nothing but air between you and the road, even accidents at low speeds can be devastating. When your head is not properly protected, an accident can result in serious brain injury, spinal cord injury, and, in some cases, death. You may be traveling at 15 miles per hour, but if you come to an abrupt stop and lose control of your bike, the force behind the coming impact will not feel like 15 miles per hour. It will be significantly more. Helmets are designed to absorb that impact, protecting the precious cargo underneath. It’s also important to note that if you are in an accident while wearing a helmet — and that helmet took some damage — you need to get a new helmet. It’s good to think of helmets as “one-time use.” Once it’s absorbed an impact, it can no longer give you the same protection as a new helmet.
where you are riding and how long you expect to be gone. This is especially important if you are riding alone. That way, they’ll know when you’ll be back, and should anything happen, they can easily find you. While out and about, do what you can to stay in the flow of traffic and maintain a stable position in the bike lane. If the bike lane is in poor condition or doesn’t exist, you can take the lane. This is why it’s so important to have reflectors and a light source on your bike (and on your person). You want to be as visible as possible to motorists. Greater visibility means motorists have a higher chance of seeing you and responding to your position on the road. Additionally, always obey the traffic laws. The stop sign applies to cyclists just as much as it applies to motorists. The same can be said of other designated traffic signals such as traffic lights and yield signs. When you are at an intersection or on approach, let everyone else on the road know what you intend to do. If you plan on turning, give the corresponding arm signal and be in the appropriate lane. As part of your signal of intent, try to make eye contact with nearby motorists. When you make eye contact, this tells you those motorists are aware of you and your next move. The more you can do to communicate with other people on the road, the safer you will be.
vanmeverenlawgroup) where we have posted a video with these and more bike safety tips. You can even download a free copy of my bike law book at vanmeverenlaw.com/Bicycle-Accidents. With these resources at your disposal, you’ll be safer than ever as you enjoy biking our beautiful roads and trails this fall.
When you are ready to head out for a ride, don’t forget to tell someone. Let family members or friends know
For more information about bike safety, I invite you to visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/
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