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Some simple rules can help keep bicyclists safe

All cyclists, be they beginners who are still using training wheels or experienced riders who have peddled for years, must ride safely. Certainly, there are many precautions that riders can employ to avoid being hurt. But what are the essentials that every rider should know?

On its website, the League of American Bicyclists has posted its "Rules of The Road." The following is a summary of these sensible and important rules.

  • Prepare and be prepared. Before taking to the road, make sure that your bicycle's brakes work, the chain runs smoothly, the quick release levers are properly closed, and your tires are sufficiently inflated. You should also wear a helmet and take along tools and other necessary supplies.
  • Anticipate potential hazards. Be on the lookout for vehicles that may turn into your path. Stay far away enough from parked cars to avoid opening doors. Stay aware of motor vehicles, pedestrians, and other bicyclists and be prepared to react to whatever they may do next.
  • Stay as visible as possible. This can be accomplished by wearing brightly colored clothing and riding where you can be easily seen. Also, outfit your bicycle with lights and reflectors.
  • Let everyone on the road know your intentions. Do not ride erratically, but rather in a straight line. Check behind you prior to making a turn or a lane change and signal when turning or maneuvering into another lane.
  • Obey traffic laws. Ride in the same direction as other traffic and stay in the rightmost lane. Never run stop signs or traffic signals.

By following these rules, bicyclists can take a measure of responsibility for their own safety. But as a bicyclist, you have more than just responsibilities while riding; you also have rights. Just as you must look out for motor vehicles, motorists have a duty to look out for you. And should you be injured by a motorist who was driving recklessly, there are avenues you can take for compensation.

A Rhode Island bicycle accident attorney may be able to help you in your pursuit of justice and recompense. The attorney could investigate the accident and act as your representative in filing a civil suit or working with insurance companies.

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