New Jersey residents of all ages love getting out on their bicycles. Children may squeal as they zip past their parents in a residential area, and older people may enjoy a sensible bike ride for exercise or when trying to reach a nearby destination. Whatever enjoyment you get from cycling, it is important that safety remains your top priority.
Whether you ride yourself or are watching your children, understanding ways that you can all stay safe is important. From ensuring the safety of the equipment used to making sure to follow traffic laws, many facets of bike riding can help increase safety.
From top to bottom
Before heading out to ride, it is important to review your equipment or your child's equipment from top to bottom. First, make sure that everyone riding has a helmet that fits snug against his or her head. You should adjust sizing pads as necessary, center the chin strap buckle and tighten the chin strap so that no more than two fingers can fit between your chin and the strap. A helmet is an important safety device, but if not worn correctly, it may not protect as much as possible.
As you continue the equipment check, ensure that you properly adjust the seat of the bicycle and lock it into place. The bicycle should also have reflectors to help bring more visibility to the bike as well as a bright headlight, especially if riding at night. It is also wise to make sure that the tires of the bike are properly inflated and do not show signs of dangerous wear.
Follow the rules of the road
Even if you are on a bicycle, the rules of the road apply to you. You need to ride with the flow of traffic, use hand signals when turning, stop at intersections and never ride while distracted. It can also help you avoid an accident to make sure that a driver sees you before crossing an intersection or otherwise pulling into traffic. You may think you have the right of way, but if a driver does not see you, he or she could strike you.
Accidents can happen
Unfortunately, your best efforts may not be enough to prevent you or even your child from suffering serious injuries in a bicycle accident. If a driver of a vehicle is at fault for the injury-causing incident, you may have reason to file a personal injury claim against that person. A successful claim could allow you to obtain compensation for damages permitted under New Jersey state law.