As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions ease and warm weather arrives, more people will be enjoying the outdoors. That means more people are sharing the roads with drivers as pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. Drivers need to use extra caution on the road, but so do people on foot or bike. Following are tips to keep everyone on the road safe and avoid a car accident.
What are Pedestrian Safety Tips?
A pedestrian can be someone out for a leisurely stroll, power walk, jog, or dog walk. Anyone who is near or sharing the road with vehicles should use the following precautions as they enjoy their walk or run:
- Obey signs and signals. Pedestrians need to watch traffic signals as much as vehicles do. Walkers should obey crosswalk signals that indicate whether to walk or wait, as well.
- Use the sidewalk. If sidewalks are available, pedestrians should walk on them. It is the best way to stay protected from traffic, and sidewalks are meant for pedestrians.
- Face the traffic. If sidewalks are not available, it is best to walk on the edge or shoulder of the road, facing traffic and as far from vehicles as possible.
- Be seen. Walkers should wear bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night. A flashlight should be carried if needed. Drivers must be able to see pedestrians.
- Heads up. Electronic devices and walking do not mix. Walkers must always be aware of what is happening in front and around them.
- Headphones off. Pedestrians also need to be able to hear what is going on around them. It is better to take the headphones off than risk not hearing an oncoming car, squealing brakes, a train, or a siren.
- Watch for drivers. Pedestrians should not assume a driver sees them. Walkers should try to make eye contact with an approaching driver to ensure they are aware of the person walking.
- Cross at the right place. Drivers expect to see pedestrians most often at crosswalks, intersections, and cross streets. Trying to get across the road at any other place could lead to an accident.
- Cross safely. If there is no crosswalk or intersection, pedestrians should walk to a well-lit area that provides a complete view of traffic. The safest approach is to wait until there is a gap in vehicles, then cross safely while continuing to look.
- Left, right, left. Before crossing, it is wise to look left, right, and then left again. While this seems obvious, cars can come up quickly, especially if they are turning left or right onto the road at the intersection.
- Be aware off the road, too. When walking in a residential neighborhood or commercial area, cars can be anywhere. Driveways and parking lots are especially dangerous for pedestrians.
- Do not walk while impaired. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous for pedestrians who may not make good choices.
- Teach children pedestrian safety. Adults should make it a point to teach children how to walk and cross safely. Parents should supervise them while walking until at least age 10.
How can Bicycle Riders Stay Safe?
In 2019 alone, more than 1,000 bicyclists lost their lives while riding. Both vehicle drivers and bike riders must always use caution. The following tips can help improve safety:
- Check the bike before starting out. The following things should be done before a bicycle ride:
- Inflate the tires properly.
- Adjust the seat to the proper height.
- Make sure there are no loose parts.
- Check the brakes.
- Use reflectors on the rear, front, pedals, and spokes.
- A horn or bell, rearview mirror, and headlight can also help with safety.
- Be seen. Bicycles can sometimes be hard to see. During the day, bicyclists should wear neon, fluorescent, or bright clothing. At night, bike riders should wear reflective clothing and use headlights. It is always best to ride during the day whenever possible.
- Wear protective equipment. Everyone, children and adults alike, should always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. The helmet should fit snugly and be adjusted correctly. Some riders also wear protective shirts and pants.
- Know and follow the rules. Bicycle riders must follow the same road rules as motorists. In addition, they should:
- Ride single file, in the direction of traffic, on the right-hand side of the road.
- Stay alert to what is happening around them.
- Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes.
- Use care at intersections when vehicles may be turning, stopping, or starting.
- Be cautious when entering traffic; look over the shoulder, to the side, and in front.
- Hear and see. Using an electronic device or headphones while riding is dangerous. Bicyclists need to use all of their senses to ensure safety.
What are Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders?
On average, more than 5,000 motorcycle riders or passengers lose their lives each year in the United States. Sometimes the fault lies with a vehicle driver, but the motorcycle operator can also be to blame. The following safety tips can ensure a safe motorcycle trip:
- Have the proper license. All states require a motorcycle endorsement to a driver’s license. No one should ever operate a motorcycle without a valid license.
- Practice, practice, practice. Handling a motorcycle safely under a variety of conditions takes a lot of practice. Before taking the bike into traffic, the motorcyclist should practice riding it around parking lots, private property, and other places away from traffic to get a good feel for how it handles.
- Check the bike before each trip. Riders should ensure tire pressure is good, hand and foot brakes work, fluids are at the correct level, and headlights and signals work.
- Load the bike properly. If carrying cargo, motorcyclists should make sure to secure and balance it correctly and adjust tire pressure and suspension to accommodate the extra weight.
- Keep passengers safe. If carrying a passenger, riders should be sure the passenger does the following:
- Sit as far forward as possible, directly behind the driver.
- Keep both feet on the footrests.
- Keep legs and feet away from the muffler.
- Hold on firmly to the driver’s waist, hip, or belt.
- Minimize movement.
- Lean at the same time and direction as the driver.
- Wear protective equipment. Motorcycle drivers and passengers should always wear a secured and appropriate helmet. In addition, arms and legs should be covered entirely, and sturdy shoes or boots should always be worn. Gloves can help protect hands, as well.
- Be visible. Motorcycles can be difficult to see. Wearing bright and reflective clothing can help. Also, rider should use headlights and attach reflective signals to the bike.
- Follow the rules of the road. Motorcyclists should obey traffic lights, speed limits, and lane markings. In addition, rider should do the following:
- Ride with the flow of traffic.
- Do not tailgate.
- If riding with other bikes, stagger positions; do not ride abreast.
- Always signal and look when changing lanes.
- Drive defensively, as if vehicles cannot see the motorcyclist.
- Use extreme caution at intersection and cross streets; especially watch out for motorists turning in front of the motorcycle.
- Do not ride impaired. As with passenger vehicles, no one should operate a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Advocate for Victims of Negligent Drivers
Vehicle drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders must share the road and the responsibility for safety. Despite efforts, accidents will happen. Every victim of a negligent driver has the right to be compensated for the damages they sustain. The Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova will fight to get victims the compensation for which they are entitled under the law. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County and Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.