As a bicyclist, you are at a greater risk of injury from a collision than the occupants of a motor vehicle. This is true despite the fact that bicycle trips account for only 1% of all those taken in the United States in any sort of vehicle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 857 bicyclists died in 2018 alone due to traffic crashes. The NHTSA recommends actions you can take to prevent yourself from getting involved in a traffic accident on your bicycle.
- Improve your skills
There may be opportunities in your community to take a class on bicycling. These courses emphasize communication with drivers and navigation on your bicycle. They may be available through bike advocacy groups, schools or recreation departments.
Even after taking a class, you need to practice applying what you have learned. You can do this in a safe location away from traffic.
- Ride predictably
This means riding in the same direction as the traffic and following all traffic regulations, including the laws about riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. The Encinitas Municipal Code only allows this in certain areas. Therefore, it may be better for you to avoid riding on the sidewalks at all so that drivers know where to expect you and you will not bother pedestrians or run afoul of the law.
- Avoid distractions
You may have to avoid a hazard at a moment’s notice, so stay alert and avoid any distractions when riding. Do not listen to music and by no means attempt to make a call or send a text on a handheld cell phone.
- Prepare for your ride
Choose a bike that functions well and fits you. Plan your route ahead of time. Try to avoid riding between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., as this is statistically when most bicycle accidents happen.