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Spring Bicycle Safety Tips

As the spring season approaches and the weather begins to warm up, many people like to bicycle for exercise and recreation. Here at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP, we would like to share with you some ways to protect yourself from serious injuries that can result from bicycling.

Over 700 bicycling fatalities occur a year nationwide. Many of these accidents are preventable. Here are some tips to stay safe while bicycling in the spring and summer months:

- Wear a helmet that fits properly. According to a recent study, in the event of an accident, a helmet that fits properly can reduce head and brain injuries by up to 88%. In addition, injuries to the facial area may be reduced by up to 65%. Even in the event of an accident involving a car, head injuries may still be reduced by 69% by wearing a helmet.

- Wear reflective gear if you must ride your bicycle at night. Approximately half of bicycling accidents occur at night, although fewer bicyclists are on the road. If you are bicycling after dark, take proper precautionary measures: wear reflective clothing and use a blinking light in order to be more visible to motorists. These measures are also advised if you are bicycling in inclement weather such as fog or haze.

- Be very careful at intersections. These are the most common places for bicyclists to get into accidents with automobiles. Many of these tragedies could be prevented by using reflective gear to be more visible, and by being more vigilant. Consider crossing at the crosswalk, use a bicycle lane if it is available, and avoid being in a vehicle's blind spot. Always be prepared to brake, and use a mirror to observe cars behind you.

- Be aware of your surroundings. It is unlawful in some states to ride a bicycle on a public highway with more than one earphone attached to an audio device. This is a safety distraction, as it prevents the cyclist from hearing oncoming traffic, or warnings of danger, such as car horns. Additionally, it is required by law to have your bicycle equipped with a horn or bell to alert others in order to avoid a collision.

- Do a bicycle maintenance check. Before your first ride of the season, check to make sure the brakes and chain are working, the tires are inflated, and the seat and pedals are adjusted. Listen for any strange noises before you take it out for the first big spin. It isn't a bad idea to bring the bicycle in to the local bicycle shop for a quick professional tune-up to ensure that you will be able to enjoy cycling all season long without worry.

If you suffer from an injury as a result of a bicycling accident, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Contact Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP for superior representation you can put your faith in. Call (212) 571-7171.

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