Bicycle commuting in Washington State has increased by a shocking 75 percent over the past ten years — and it’s easy to see why. Biking to work can be extremely healthy, economical, and, in some cases faster, than a traditional commute in a car. It’s also environmentally friendly to boot.
But while getting to work by cycling has tons of advantages, it also comes with a few unique safety issues – each year, dozens of cyclists across Washington State are injured in accidents, many of them collisions with larger vehicles like cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Before you begin commuting to work by bike in the Federal Way and Seattle areas, we urge you to learn more about bike accident prevention and bike safety.
10 Safety Tips For New Bike Commuters In Washington State
Before you get on your bike for your first attempt at commuting to work, review these safety tips for bike commuters to ensure that your time on the road is as accident-proof as possible.
- Always wear a helmet. We shouldn’t even have to say this, but just in case: never, ever bike without a helmet. It’s the single easiest thing you can do to prevent injury and death during a bike commute.
- Plan your route carefully. The fastest way to work may not be the safest way to work. Consider taking a close look at a map and find a route free of high speed limits and void of dangerous intersections. Consider a bit of a longer route that has protected bike lanes or paths.
- Consider your clothes. You might not want to bike to work in the clothes you wear at work — biking in comfortable clothes that are highly visible is safer, even if changing at work will take an extra minute or two.
- Give yourself enough time. You don’t want to be rushing to work or worrying about punching in late — speeding on a bike can be just as dangerous as speeding in a car, and being distracted by work worries can take your mind away from the road.
- Watch for opening car doors. One of the most common accidents for biking commuters is “dooring” accidents, when a parked car on the side of the road opens a door suddenly in the path of a biker. These accidents are even more common in the mornings and evenings, when people are arriving at work or getting home.
- Learn your hand signals. You don’t need to signal absolutely all of the time, but signaling in high traffic situations, or during dangerous turns or lane changes, will greatly increase your safety.
- Stay off those sidewalks. Biking on sidewalks might seem like a safe idea, but it’s also really dangerous for pedestrians, not to mention illegal.
- Be prepared for bad weather. If you’ll be commuting by bike no matter the weather, be prepared for low-visibility and wet conditions. Lights and bright colors can help, and remember that staying warm and dry also makes you a better, safer biker.
- Don’t ride with headphones in. A commute by car is a great time to listen to music or catch up on your favorite podcast. But if you’re biking, you need your ears to keep you safe and aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t forgot bike maintenance. Especially if you’re using your bike five days a week or more, you have to keep your bike tuned up regularly to stay safe. A significant number of bike accidents take place when the mechanics of a bike fails.
Bike Accident? Talk To An Attorney Who Cares
Federal Way bike accident attorney Chong Ye is committed to helping the victims of Washington State bike accidents. Call his office today at (253) 946-0577 to schedule a free, private consultation, or fill out this short contact form.