A majority of bicycle accident fatalities happen at night because of limited visibility. Washington law requires riders to have a rear deflector and a small headlight. These small precautions are not enough. Bicycles are so much smaller than passenger vehicles, and so much quieter than motorcycles, that they are easily overlooked, often with tragic consequences.
Cyclists must make an effort to be seen at all times. Here are a few safety suggestions to increase your visibility and to reduce your chances of being involved in a serious collision.
Washington state law (RCW 46.61.780) requires cyclists riding at night to use a white front light that can be seen up to 500 feet away. There are also other accessories you can use, however, to enhance your level of safety in dim conditions.
Rear blinking LED tail lights have become popular, and are a good way to help cars behind you to see you. These lights are particularly effective because they are unique to bike riders. Car approaching a small blinking light know that they are getting close to a cyclist.
The standardized rear reflector on a bicycle is red, but you have the option to attach additional reflectors to other flat surfaces on your bike or to any bags or other accessories you typically use when riding. Round and oblong amber reflectors are particularly popular because they are so easily visible at night. Oversized reflectors can be purchased at auto parts stores for even greater visibility.
Adhesive Reflective Tape
Adhesive tape can be purchased with varying degrees of expense in bike shops up to the “diamond” grades sold in auto parts stores and marine supply stores. The flexibility of application with adhesive tape makes it a good option for cyclists. Consider putting 1-inch wide strips on your helmet and along the exposed back elements of your bike.
Adhesive Fabric Tape / Reflective Cloth Trim
You should also consider stitching reflective cloth trim on the back of your biking gloves. This will make your hand signals more visible at night. If you have a rain jacket, reflective tape to the back panel. In rainy conditions, a cyclist’s visibility diminishes markedly. The more reflective options the better under those conditions.
You probably haven’t had a bike horn since you were a child, but a proper adult bike air horn can make sure you are heard in traffic. Most horns attach to the handlebars, and are easily operated without the cyclist having to take his hands off the handlebars.
Wear Bright Clothing
Regardless if you are riding during the day or at night, opt to wear bright colors. Consider a yellow jacket or shirt to increase your chances of being seen.
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Unfortunately, accidents will occur no matter how many sensible precautions you take. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident due to a driver’s negligence or wrongdoing, you need the assistance of an experienced lawyer, who will make sure that you receive fair compensation to cover medical expenses, loss of earnings, cost of hospitalization, treatment and care. Please call the Bernard Law Group today for a free consultation.
IF YOU, OR A LOVED ONE, HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN A BICYCLE ACCIDENT IN WASHINGTON – CALL TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!