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As more New Yorkers ride bicycles, safety concerns arise

The Covid-19 virus has affected New Yorkers in so many ways. Not surprisingly, after Mayor Bill de Blasio's suggestion that New Yorkers bike to work, it may even have contributed to the increase in bicycle-related injuries.

According to the nonprofit Streetsblog, bicyclist injuries increased in New York City by 43% from March 9 to March 15, the immediate week after de Blasio encouraged people to ditch the cabs and subways and ride their bikes. And, also not surprisingly, motor vehicle driver error contributed to most of these accidents.

Remain vigilant and obey traffic laws

Citing data from the New York City Police Department, Streetsblog reported 80 bicycle-related injuries occurred that week. During the same week in 2019, authorities reported 56 bicycle injuries.

Bicycle safety is crucial. One thing that bicycle enthusiasts must remember: Be vigilant because many motor vehicle drivers are inattentive. Here are some safety tips when riding your bicycle:

  • Ensure your bike is in tip-top shape: It should be in good condition. Check the brakes, gears, tires and lights. Have a bike mechanic look it over.
  • Wear a helmet: This may prevent serious head injuries in a spill or crash.
  • Remain highly visible: Always wear bright-colored clothing, including pants, jacket and vest. During night-time or low-light conditions, wear reflective clothing and rely on front and back lights.
  • Obey traffic laws and signals: Stop at stop signs and red traffic lights. Yield to oncoming traffic.
  • Always ride in the direction of traffic: And avoid weaving through traffic.
  • Rely on hand signals: Drivers will know which direction you are turning. Eye contact is crucial, too. Please do not assume that drivers see you.
  • Stay on the alert: With distracted driving more common in the tech age, you must be alert to inattentive drivers. Also be aware of road conditions, which can be hazardous.
  • Avoid distractions: Bicyclists, too, can be guilty of these safety infractions. Avoid texting, talking and listening to music on your smartphone.
  • Stay away from alcohol and controlled substances: They will affect your ability to ride your bike and potentially lead to a serious or fatal injury.

In these uncertain times, there are some things that are certain. Bicycle safety can prevent a major accident with serious consequences. Please stay safe on New York's streets, and enjoy the commute or just a leisurely ride through one of the world's greatest cities.

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