Bicycle riding is fun, it’s great exercise, it’s a great way to get around, bicycle commuting is growing. David Greene from the law firm of Greene and Phillips joined us on Studio10 with some safety tips in regards to bicycle riding.
Talk about some of the safety equipment that you may want to use as you ride your bike
Helmets are required in Alabama for anyone under 16, but of course we recommend them for everyone. make sure your helmet fits correctly, and make sure you’ve got it securely strapped under your chin. A headlight and taillight are required by law at night, but they are a great way to be seen throughout the day. Wearing bright and reflective clothing is helpful for drivers to see you on the road. Whatever you can do to make yourself more visible to the surrounding traffic is great. Properly inflated tires and good working brakes are also important.
Once you’ve got all the safety gear in place, and it’s time to go ride and you should only ride on the sidewalks, right?
Actually, you really want to avoid riding on the sidewalk most of the time. It’s illegal in Alabama because on a bicycle you can be a hazard to other pedestrians. You can also put yourself at great risk because drivers aren’t looking for you as they are turning onto a cross street or pulling out of their driveways.
So sidewalks are off limits, where on the road should you ride your bike?
In Mobile we don’t have many bicycle lanes, but Alabama law considers bicycles vehicles like cars with every right to the road that a car has. That means you want to ride WITH traffic, not against it, not in the center lane. You want to stay in the right lane and about a third of the way into the lane from the right curb.
If you ride too close to the curb, you’ll encounter dangers such as gutters and debris. By riding a third of the way into the lane you’ll avoid many of those hazards and you’ll discourage traffic behind you from trying to squeeze by you that could really put you at risk.
You bring up a good point, when a car sees a bicycle on the road ahead, how should they pass it?
You want to pass a bicycle the same was as you would any other vehicle. wait for a safe time then get into the adjoining lane and make sure to give the bicycle plenty of space. In the City of Mobile, you a required to give the bicycle at least 3 feet clearance.
Are bicycles really allowed allowed on any road, sometimes they seem like they are holding up traffic and such an inconvenience because they are going much lower than the speed limit?
Bicycles are banned from tunnels and interstates, but beyond that, under the law, they are allowed on any other road. Remember, people use bicycles for transportation as well as sport.
If someone is on a bike and is hit by a car, what should they do?
Of course call 911, make sure the police make a report, get medical attention as soon as you can. Also call a lawyer that handles bicycle related injury cases, they will help you make a claim and make sure you get fully compensated for your injuries.
Who does the bicyclist have a claim against if they are injured in an accident?
If a vehicle hits a bicyclist who is following the rules of the road, they can make a claim against the driver of the vehicle that hit the bicycle. It is they who are responsible for all medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Is there any cost to come into see Greene & Phillips for a consultation?
There is no cost. And if we take your case you don’t owe us anything unless we get money for you.