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Bicycling in Louisiana may require extra caution

Riding your bicycle is a great way to get exercise and fresh air, whether you commute on your bike to work or ride just for fun. Although many people think of biking as a carefree form of transportation, bicycle crashes can cause serious injuries or death.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 800 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2016. Also, the Wall Street Journal determined late last year that more bicyclist deaths have occurred in Louisiana than all other states in the country except one.

While motorists have a responsibility to drive safely around bicyclists, there are also actions you can take to help avoid being hit by a car when riding your bike. Some safety habits may be obvious, such as wearing a helmet that fits properly. However, there may be other preventative actions that you have not considered.

Be visible

Most bicyclists who die in crashes are killed between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. regardless of season or day of the week. This may be because visibility is low at this time, making it harder for motorists to see bicyclists.

You can reduce the likelihood of being hit by a car if you bike when it is light outside. It can also be helpful to take additional steps to make yourself more visible to motorists.

Some ways to make yourself easier to see, include:

  • Wearing bright clothing during the day
  • Wearing reflective gear or adding reflective material to the gear you already have
  • Making sure you have a white front light and red rear light on your bike

Be predictable

Bicyclists must abide by many of the same rules that motorists must abide by. For example, you are required to obey street signs, signal your intentions and drive with the flow of traffic. Obeying the rules of the road helps motorists predict your actions and avoid potentially colliding with you.

Ride defensively

It can also be beneficial for you to anticipate potential problems, so you can maneuver to avoid them. This means avoiding distractions like phones or music and focusing your eyes and ears on your surroundings. Although anticipating the actions of motor vehicles can help avoid a collision, you must also look for hazards that could cause you to fall off your bike, such as gravel or potholes. The sooner you notice a potential problem, the sooner you can act to avoid it.

If a motor vehicle causes you severe injuries while you are riding your bike, it may be appropriate to seek legal action. You may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury. You should not have to suffer because of someone else’s reckless actions on the road.

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