As the warm weather returns, more and more people are breaking out their bicycles and taking to the roadways. Whether you’re a cyclist or a driver, here’s what drivers should know about bicycle accidents and insurance to stay safe and prevent collisions this summer.
Bicycle Accident Tips for Drivers
Share the road
Sharing the road is key to preventing accidents between drivers and bicyclists. It can be irritating to get stuck behind a cyclist, but remember they have the same rights as motorists. Only pass when it is safe to do so, slow down and give bikes plenty of room.
Be careful when turning
When taking a right turn, make sure to always use your signal. According to Edmunds.com, if a cyclist is behind you and to the right, they may be planning on riding straight ahead and could hit you if you turn without notice. And if you’re taking a left, remember that an oncoming cyclist may be going faster than you expect. If you turn in front of them, they may not have time to stop.
Look twice before opening your door
If a cyclist is riding by in the bike lane, you could accidentally whack them by flinging your door open without looking. It’s especially important to take a good look before exiting your vehicle, because cyclists have no way of knowing when a car door could open in front of them.
Know what to do if you hit a cyclist with your car
If you accidentally hit a cyclist, stop immediately and check for injuries. If necessary, call an ambulance. If the accident was minor, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic and call the police. Take notes and photos documenting any damage and get the information of everyone who was involved in or witnessed the accident. You should also notify your insurance company immediately. And as tempting as it may be to apologize, never admit fault for an accident at the scene.
Make sure you have the right coverage for bicycle accidents
Your auto insurance policy includes multiple types of coverages, including bodily injury liability, which applies to injuries that you, the driver, cause to someone else. If you’re found at fault in an accident in which someone was injured, this will protect you from having to pay their medical bills out-of-pocket.
While bodily injury liability coverage is standard on basic auto policies, the Insurance Information Institute recommends buying more than the state-required minimum. If you’re involved in a bad accident, you could be sued for a large sum of money.
It’s also a good idea to think about investing in an umbrella insurance policy, which provides excess liability coverage on top of what’s normally covered under your auto, homeowners and boat policies. It kicks in once you’ve exceeded your policy’s limits, protecting you from losing everything in a lawsuit.
Bicycle Accident Tips for Cyclists
If you occasionally leave your car parked at home and hit the road on two wheels, here are some tips to keep you safer.
Always wear a helmet
You’ve probably heard this one over and over again, but the importance of wearing a helmet cannot be overstated. Here’s how to make sure your helmet is fitting properly, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.
Make sure your bike fits properly
Just like your helmet, you should make sure your bicycle is adjusted to fit you. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while standing over the bicycle, there should be one to two inches between you and the top of the tube for a road bike and three to four inches for a mountain bike. The seat should also be level from front to back and adjusted height wise to allow a slight bend at the knee when your leg is fully extended. The height of the handlebars should be level with the seat.
Keep your bike maintained
Make sure to check your brakes and tire pressure regularly.
Wear the proper gear
Dress appropriately for the weather and wear reflective clothing, day or night. According to the NHTSA, white clothing has not been shown to make you more visible.
Ride in a straight line and don’t weave in and out of cars. Always remember to signal your moves to others and follow traffic rules.
Obey the rules of the road
As a cyclist, you’re still required to obey all traffic signals, lane markings and stop signs.
Watch out for hazards, including potholes, sand, wet leaves or anything that could cause an accident.
Make sure your auto insurance is ready for the road. Call an InsuraMatch advisor at (844) 300-3364 to see how much we can help you save.
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