The warm weather is upon us, that means many residents of greater-Providence will leave their cars at home and commute via bicycle. Not only is bicycling a healthy and economically sound way for commuters to get around, it’s a hobby that many people enjoy.
An increase in bicycles calls for more awareness
Due to the expansion of the JUMP bike-sharing service, there are more bicycles on Providence streets than ever, according to a Patch article. Bicycle enthusiasts and safety advocates are encouraging communication among drivers and bicyclists through an initiative dubbed “The Rhode Island Waves campaign.”
Bari Freeman, Executive Director of Bike Newport, explains, “The Rhode Island Waves campaign was developed in Newport and now Bike Newport is working with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to expand this campaign across the state. The goal is for cyclists to be noticed by drivers and encourage both vehicle and bike drivers to exchange a wave to communicate that they've seen each other.”
Safety tips for drivers and bicyclists
AAA Northeast offers some tips to drivers in order to promote courtesy and prevent bicycle accidents. These include:
- Waving to cyclists looking to cross a roadway to acknowledge that you see them.
- Recognize bicycles as vehicles and bicyclists as legitimate road users (because they are).
- When approaching or passing bicyclists, allow them enough space so they don’t get hit if they enter the roadway.
- Always use turn signals when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Before switching lanes or merging, always check your mirrors and blind spots for bicyclists.
- When parked on a street or roadside, always check for oncoming bicyclists before opening your door.
- Always allow a safe following distance when driving behind bicyclists.
- Avoid distractions, stay sober, and stay alert.
In addition, AAA Northeast provides some tips on how bicyclists can stay safe:
- Wave to let drivers know that you intend to cross a roadway.
- Always wear a bike helmet, even though it’s not required for bicyclists ages 16 and older.
- Make yourself visible by wearing bright clothing and reflective tape.
- Always ride on the right side of the road and obey all traffic laws.
- Use hand signals when changing lanes or turning.
- Ride where you will be most visible to drivers.
- Stay attentive, sober, and avoid using earbuds or headphones.
Unlike passenger vehicle drivers, bicyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in greater-Providence. They’re not protected by seat belts, airbags, and front-end frames that can absorb the impact of a collision.
Bicyclists often sustain severe and life-threatening injuries in crashes with motor vehicles. Recovery can be lengthy. The medical expenses, physical therapy, and time away from work can be financially overwhelming. But you shouldn’t have to pay out of your own pocket because of someone else’s negligent and reckless behavior.
That’s why it’s critical that you discuss your bicycle accident with an experienced Providence attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Law Office of Mark B. Morse today to find out what we can do for you.