The Basic Rules of Locking Up a Bike

Accidents aren’t the only way your bicycle can get damaged or destroyed. If you live in even a moderate-sized city, all you need to do to lose your bicycle is to leave it outside overnight without a lock. It probably won’t be there in the morning. However, if you know the basic rules of locking up a bicycle, then you can keep it safe.

First, you should buy yourself the best bike lock you can afford. A bike chain and combination lock are fine, but they can easily be cut through. A sturdy U-lock is best. Typically, to ward off except the most hardcore bike thieves, all you need to do is put the effort into locking up your bike. However, if you have a new or particularly flashy bike, never leave it locked up outside overnight.

Once you have the lock, you need to know where to lock it up. Bike racks should be your first choice, but you don’t always have the option. The next best option is somewhere that is both unmovable, but also highly visible. You may feel safer locking it up in an alley, but bike thieves are more likely to strike in places where there aren’t a dozen eyes on them at all times. Keep your bike visible and random pedestrians will keep it safe. As for where to lock it, anywhere unmovable is fine, but you need to consult your city ordinances to make sure areas like lamp posts or street signs are legal venues to lock your bike to.

While locking up your bike keeps it safe, it won’t always be safe on the road. If you have been in a cycling accident and need legal representation, contact us today.

Had A Near-Miss With a Car? Study Shows You Are Not The Only One

Even if you are just a casual road cyclist, everyone has one of those stories about how they almost go completely wrecked by a car. We like to call them “near-miss” accidents because they almost happened but didn’t. However, if you only know a limited number of cyclists, then you don’t know how common near-misses are. However, a new study out of the UK shows just how much danger cyclists are in.

The study, run by a group aptly called the Near Miss Project, was lead by Dr. Rachel Aldred of Westminster University. Here colleagues rounded up 1,532 participants and asked them to keep a diary of their cycling on a preselected date. On average, the cyclists had three near-misses that day. This included being passed too closely, blocked by a vehicle, vehicles pulling out into a cyclist’s path, being driven at, and almost getting the dreaded right hook by turning vehicles.

Why is it so rampant? The study theorizes that the cause is relatively simple. Unlike cyclists, drivers perceive near-misses differently. Since they are protected by a thick shell of metal, they may not even realize the danger they are putting those who they share the road with in. When you don’t realize what you are doing is dangerous, it makes it pretty hard to learn a lesson from it, right?

If you are lucky, your cycling career will be filled with only a near-miss or two and never an actual accident. However, we are not all so lucky. If you have been in a cycling accident and need representation to cover your medical bills, contact us today.

Bicycle Safety Inspection Checklist – Read Before Riding

Before riding your bike, it’s important that you check to make sure that all of its parts are in perfect working order. Just one malfunctioning part can have dire consequences. Here is a bicycle safety checklist to take care of before riding out.

Tires/Wheels

  • Do the tires have enough air?
  • Are there cuts or bulges in the tires? Is there a good tread?
  • Do the wheels spin without any problems?
  • Are any spokes broken?

Brakes

  • Do they work properly?
  • Do they stop the bike smoothly without sliding?
  • Make sure your bike does not move when the brakes are applied.

Chain

  • Make sure there is no rust and that the chain is clean.
  • Make sure the chain is lubricated.
  • Make sure the chain fits snugly.

Seat

  • Is it firm and secure?
  • Do you feel comfortable on it?
  • Is it straight?
  • Is it the right height?

Frame

  • Make sure there is no looseness in any nuts or fasteners. Make sure all parts, such as the seat, handlebars, etc are fastened tightly.
  • Make sure the frame is clean and without large patches of rust.
  • Make sure the handlebar is straight and aligned with the front wheel.

Lights

  • Make sure you have a red reflector light in the back which can be seen 300 feet away.
  • Make sure you have a white light in the front which can be seen 300 feet away.
  • Make sure the lights are straight, firmly attached and are working.

If you ever suffer an injury while riding a bicycle, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us immediately for legal help.

Costs of Bicycle Accidents Increasing, Study Finds

The medical costs of bicycle accidents have been rising dramatically, according to a new study by the University of California, San Francisco, which was recently published in the journal Injury Prevention. Since 1997, medical costs for emergency room and hospital admissions have been on the rise.

Bicycle accidents have been rising tremendously. Over the course of 17 years, total medical costs, including both fatal and non-fatal bicycle injuries, amounted to $237 billion. In the year 2013 alone, costs amounted to more than $24.4 billion. The total costs of all occupational illnesses during the same year were less than half that amount.

Not only are costs not decreasing, they are steadily going up. Each year, costs rise an additional $789 million, on average. There was a total of 9,839 bicycle related deaths that were reported between 1997 and 2013, the length of the study. Other nonfatal bicycle-related injuries totaled 3.8 million.

Each year, bicycle-related injuries increased by around 6,500. Costs increased 137 percent for non-fatal injuries and 23 percent for fatal injuries each year.

Three-quarters of all bicycle injury costs were incurred by males, especially older men. In 1997, 26 percent of total costs were incurred by men 45 years or older (who are more likely to take the proper safety procedures), while in 2013, the number was 54 percent.

The health benefits of biking certainly outweigh its risks. However, it’s impossible to stress how important it is to follow safety procedures when going on a bike ride.

If you’ve been injured riding a bicycle, it’s important that you get legal help immediately so that you get the full compensation you deserve. Contact us today for help!

How to Ride Safely Around Pedestrians

For the majority of commuting cyclists, motor vehicles are the real danger. However, there are many times where cyclists are put at odds with pedestrians as well. While a crash with a pedestrian isn’t quite as dramatic, unlike with an automobile, both the cyclist and the pedestrian can get injured pretty badly. This is why it is important to know how to ride around pedestrians safely.

In many states, it is illegal to ride your bicycle on sidewalks, but even where it is allowed, it is not advised. Even when riding through the door zone, you are not quite exposed to hazards as frequently as you are on the side walk.

However, there are times when riding around pedestrians is unavoidable. Typically, the key is to go slowly while still being able to ride efficiently, and if you need to go by a pedestrian, ride behind them, not in front. When shocked suddenly, it is our first instinct to jump forward. This means if you jet out in front of a pedestrian, they may accidentally end up in your path. By going behind them, they will safely put themselves out of your path. So even if you are moving at a decent speed, there is less of a chance that you will hit a pedestrian if you move behind them.

Even if you are the master student of bicycle safety, accidents happen. It is just the very nature of the world. So even if you ride around pedestrians frequently and think you know everything about staying safe, you will probably get into an accident one day. However, if you need legal representation for your accident, contact us. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to representing cyclists.