Riding a bike is something everyone enjoys, from young children to adults. Some people enjoy leisurely riding their bike on a sunny afternoon, while others rely on their bicycle as their primary method of transportation.
Bicycles vs. Motor Vehicles
Cyclists who are mingling with traffic, such as motor vehicles and trucks, need to take extra caution when riding their bicycles to avoid getting in bicycle accident with a vehicle. A bicyclist is at a severe disadvantage compared to motorists, as they do not have the protection of a car frame, seat belt or an air bag. Therefore, a bicyclist must take advantage of the few safety accessories they can use, such as helmets and padding.
Science and the Lack of Safety for Cyclists
There is an abundance of scientific evidence that implies that a cyclist is at a great disadvantage on the road and there is a dire need for stricter bicycle safety laws. The basic laws of physics state that a light moving object struck by a heavy moving object will be severely damaged. When a cyclist is thrown off their bike, their body must slow down and the laws of friction come into place. The body is dragged across the ground at such a speed that the injuries sustained can be quite serious, such as the ‘road rash’ many cyclists suffer from after being thrown off their bicycle.
Scientific studies have revealed that the use of bike helmets is very effective in protecting the head and brain from serious injuries. In a 2013 study conducted by Dennis et al., it was found that there was a 26% decrease in head injuries amongst adults in areas that had enforced bicycle helmet laws from 1994-2003, whereas there was no change in the instances of head injuries in adults in cities where there were no helmet laws enforced.
Due to these studies and the scientific evidence that they have provided, many countries and states have made wearing a bicycle helmet compulsory for cyclists in certain situations. For those cyclists who are traveling amongst common traffic, helmets are a must.
Sharing the Road
Cyclists must abide by the regular traffic laws that other vehicles are also following. If they plan to share the road with the motor vehicles, they must also plan to share the laws. Cyclists must take into account that their situation is very different from that of a driver in a motor vehicle and must take precautions to protect themselves.
Scientific evidence clearly implies that there is a need for stricter bicycle laws. Cyclists must wear protective gear, particularly when they are travelling on busy roads and intermingling with vehicles. There must also be strict laws enforced on drivers of motor vehicles, to ensure that they consider and treat a cyclist just as they would a driver of another car. Overtaking or driving alongside the cyclist can cause serious damage and injury to the individual.
Some cities have taken initiative and created a separate lane for cyclists on the main roads. Motor vehicles are prohibited from using these lanes, keeping them open for those cyclists who choose to share the road. Safety measures and stricter safety laws must be enforced to protect both cyclists and drivers. This can be seen not only by studying the scientific evidence, but also by using simple, common sense.
Resources for Further Information
Jonathan Rosenfeld is a personal injury attorney with significant experience litigating bicycle accident cases. Jonathan is the founder of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, 33 N. Dearborn Street, #1930, Chicago, IL 60602 (847) 835-8895 | www.rosenfeldinjurylawyers.com