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5 tips to prevent biking fatalities in New York

Residents in New York are encouraged to use biking as a means of transportation. However, dozens of these bicyclists die in motor vehicle accidents each year.

Last year, the city of New York reported over 25 bicyclists had died in motor vehicle accidents. It was a 45 percent increase in bicyclist deaths from the previous year.

While you cannot prevent every accident, there are steps you can take to help keep yourself safe. As a bicyclist in New York, it is important for you to take the following safety precautions, including:

Wear a helmet: New York law only requires children under age 14 to wear a helmet while biking. However, bicyclists of all ages should wear helmets. Helmets can help prevent concussions, brain damage and other head injuries. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that over 50 percent of biking-related deaths involving head injuries might have been prevented by a helmet.

Put lights on your bike: Bike lights can help you see other drivers and help other drivers see you. Similar to motor vehicles, bike lights often come as white headlights and red taillights. While New York law requires bicyclists to use bike lights at night, they are extremely useful during the daytime as well.

Don't listen to music: While bicyclists can listen to music while riding, New York law only allows them to use one headphone to do so. Many cities across the United States have prohibited bicyclists from listening to music through headphones at all. Bicyclists who listen to music can fail to hear traffic signals and other signs of danger, even with only one headphone playing.

Don't assume motorists see you: Bicyclists often make the mistake of assuming motorists can see them. This assumption has led to many deaths. Even if you have the right away, it is important to look both ways for approaching cars and make eye contact with motorists if possible. Taking the little bit of extra time could save your life.

Learn the NYC biking laws: Like motor vehicle drivers, bicyclists must also adhere to the rules of the road. Some of these laws include riding with traffic, obeying traffic signals and using bike lanes. For more information on New York bicycle laws, you can visit the Department of Transportation's list of bicycle laws.

Bicycle accidents can result in serious injuries. The most common injuries include broken bones, sprains, fractures, skin lacerations, road rash, head trauma and even death. If you or someone you love sustains an injury from a bicycle accident, consult with a personal injury attorney to help get the compensation you deserve.

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