Picture this: a bicyclist pulls up beside a car while both wait for a red light to change. When the light turns green, both start forward – but the car turns right, cutting in front of the bicyclist and throwing the rider to the pavement. It is an accident commonly known as the “right hook,” and it can cause serious injuries to bikers.
Summer in Kentucky can be a great time to ride a bicycle – a healthy way to travel that’s also easy on the environment and cuts down on gas bills. While a bicycle accident attorney can help you protect your legal rights if you are injured, the best protection from injury is prevention.
Here are some ways to avoid the dreaded “right hook” while you’re on your bicycle:
- Stay on the roadway. Sidewalks can seem safer than roads for bicyclists, but they make it harder for drivers to see you, and most drivers won’t expect a bicycle entering a crosswalk from a sidewalk. Using the roads, as Kentucky law allows bicyclists to do, improves your chances of being seen.
- Use up the lane. Ride in the center of the lane as you approach an intersection. This prevents drivers from pulling up beside you in order to attempt a right turn in front of you. If the lane is not wide enough for cars to pass you safely, you need to take up the entire lane in order to protect yourself from sideswipe collisions as well.
- Check your mirrors well ahead of the intersection. Install a handlebar or helmet mirror on your bike, and check it several yards before the intersection to see if any drivers are coming up behind you and whether the vehicle’s turn signal is on. While not foolproof, this check can give you a great deal of useful information on how to position yourself for when you actually arrive at the intersection.
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