As the weather across New York begins to warm up and summer approaches, cyclists may resume their routines of biking to work. Biking to work can make your commute more enjoyable in many ways, providing exercise, a chance to unwind, extra outdoor time and more.
However, cyclists face daily risks from larger motor vehicles sharing the roads with them. According to city data, crashes between bicycles and motor vehicles resulted in 4,397 injuries to cyclists, as well as 24 fatalities in 2017. While parts of New York City are very bike friendly, accidents still occur that can result in serious injuries.
Tips to stay safe on your commute
Nearly 49,000 New Yorkers commute to work. Whether your commute takes you along bike lanes, roads or a mix of both, here are a few considerations to keep in mind to stay safe:
- Make sure you are visible. While summer brings extended daylight hours, if you know you need to be in the office early or late, make sure you have necessary reflective gear.
- Watch for opening car doors. Drivers or passengers may fail to check for bikers before opening their doors. Exercise caution and avoid riding too close to parked cars when possible.
- Remain alert at intersections. Intersections during rush hour times can be particularly dangerous. Watch for cars that may not see you and clearly signal your turns.
- Refrain from riding on sidewalks. While at some points in the city riding on the sidewalk may seem safer, it seldom is. Ride on bike lanes when possible or the road.
- Carry the proper gear. Wear a helmet that fits you, ensure your shoes are tightly tied and carry a backpack or bag that can fit your personal items without compromising your safety.
While maintaining a properly working bike and preparing for your commute are important, driving defensively and responsibly can significantly contribute to preventing an accident.
What to do in an accident
While you may take care to ride as safely as possible, accidents can happen. In the event of an accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible to evaluate the extent of your injuries. If possible following the accident, exchange basic contact information with the other involved parties, get contact information from any witnesses, take pictures of the accident scene and remain at the scene.