How to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
Idaho Bicycle Law Refresher
In Idaho, bicycle riders must abide by the same laws as vehicle drivers. Similarly, they also have the same rights to the road as other vehicles. Bicycle riders are also required by law to exercise due care. These rights and responsibilities are protected by Idaho Statutes § 49-714.
Though cyclists are expected to adhere to the same rules as other vehicles, there are some exceptions. For example, bicycles do not always have to stop at stop signs or red lights. According to § 49-720, a cyclist may treat a stop sign as a yield when it is safe to do so.
Under the same statute, when approaching a red light, they must stop before entering the intersection and yield to all other traffic. However, they may proceed into the intersection against the steady red light with caution once they have done so. This is called Idaho's "Dead Red" law, and it recognizes that cyclists may not trigger traffic light sensors.
Other important bicycle laws in Idaho include:
- Cyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks in Idaho, but must yield to pedestrians
- Cyclists are not required to wear helmets, though some cities do require helmets for riders under 18 years old
- Bicycles are excluded from Idaho's DUI laws
These are just a few of Idaho's important bicycle laws. They all work to help keep cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers safe on the road. For more information on Idaho's bicycle laws, review our blog here.
Now that we have reviewed some of Idaho's important bicycle laws, let's consider how we can help prevent bicycle accidents and keep riders safe on the roads. Keep reading for five bicycle safety tips.
#1: Always Wear a Helmet
As previously mentioned, helmets are not required by law in Idaho. However, we recommend that all cyclists wear a helmet every time they ride, no matter how experienced they are. As a cyclist, you are exposed to the elements, and when you are in an accident, there is nothing between you and the other vehicle. A helmet plays a crucial role in keeping you safe from injury, and even if you are thrown from your bicycle, it can help prevent a serious brain injury and even death.
#2: Replace Your Helmet After an Accident
If you are in a bicycle accident, it is important that you replace your helmet with a new one. Even one accident can compromise the integrity of your helmet. If you want to ensure that your helmet does its job in the event of another accident, you need to get a new one. Additionally, even if you are not in an accident, it is recommended that you replace your helmet every five to 10 years, depending on how often its used and the materials it's made from. Check with your local bike shop to find out how often you should replace your specific helmet.
#3: Always Wear Bright Colors or Reflective Gear
Many bike accidents result from a driver failing to see the cyclist. With this in mind, you should always wear clothing and gear that increases your visibility. Reflective gear can go a long way in making you more visible to drivers, and reflective vests can be purchased at many sporting goods stores or online.
We also recommend adding running lights to your bicycle. Both a headlamp and a rear light can help ensure that other drivers see you, especially if you are riding early in the morning or at night.
#4: Use Proper Hand Signals
Just as you need to signal while driving a car, you must also use proper signaling while riding your bike. Signaling alerts other riders and drivers when you intend to stop or make a turn. Without this signaling, you leave yourself more vulnerable to accidents as other drivers will not be able to anticipate where you are going. Hand signaling is remarkably simple, and you can even teach your kids.
#5: Learn Local Biking Laws & Obey Posted Traffic Signs
As mentioned above, some cities, counties, and towns have their own bicycle laws. These laws are not consistent across the state. Wherever you are riding, it is important that you familiarize yourself with local biking laws. Additionally, pay attention to all posted signage. Failure to do so can result in receiving a citation or even being injured in an accident. We also recommend using designated bike lanes whenever possible.
These are just a few great ways that you can help prevent bicycle accidents. However, if an accident does happen and you or a loved one are injured, reach out to May, Rammell & Wells for help. We can review your case and help determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury claim.