California leads the nation in commuter cyclists on the road. This fact isn’t a surprise as residents in The Golden State value healthy choices over sedentary lifestyles. One problem with this is personal safety.
Commuter cycling poses a serious health risk: collisions with vehicles. Commuter cyclists have seen their fair share of close calls riding on metro roadways. Typically, auto and bicycle collisions occur due to negligence of the driver.
The driver defends him or herself by accusing the cyclist of negligent cycling. They will allege they didn’t see the cyclist because he or she wasn’t visible.
It’s a legitimate defense that may have merit in the eyes of some judges and jurors. As bicycle accident attorneys, it is our goal to prevent this type of defense from prevailing in a court room.
The best thing you can do is make yourself visible and formidable to motorists. Newer technologies and concepts support these goals. We have scoured the marketplace for the best in safety tools and gear. We have selected the following six items which every commuter’s cyclist survival kit should contain.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer Recommended Safety Survival Kit
1. Turn Signal Cycling Gloves
Turn signal cycling gloves work two-fold. First, they provide the necessary grip that your hands require for general riding. Plus, they come with an arrow that flashes on the back of your hand, a lot like a blinker on a car. It’s pretty hard for the offending driver to argue that they didn’t see you signal.
2. Bicycle Lighting System
Outfitting your bike with a solid lighting system is important. Under California Vehicle Code §21201, it’s the law. If visibility is low, you don’t have a good excuse for riding without the use of lights. So, instead of strapping on some basic bike lamps, you should use a whole lighting system. Modern bike lights can be applied to wheels, clothing, handlebars, front and rear forks, helmets, and pedals. Lighting yourself as bright as a Christmas tree makes it hard for a driver to claim that they “couldn’t see you.”
3. Rear-View Radar
This tool is one of our safety favorites. A rear-view radar warns you of vehicles within 10 feet behind you by sounding an alarm and illuminating. You will know the moment you need to move off the roadway and head to safety. Plus, its memory function may help prove the driver was behind you prior to impact.
4. High-Decibel Bike Horn
Ditch the childhood bell. A regular commuter needs a robust horn that alerts drivers to your presence right away. As bicycle accident attorneys, we suggest finding a horn that has a sound volume between 90 and 100 decibels.
5. GPS Handle Band
A handle band is a device that you place on your handlebars. It clips to the middle of your front fork and is designed to hold your smartphone in place. Its intended use is for hands-free GPS navigation. Ergo, no one can accuse you of negligent cycling.
6. Polarized Sunglasses
Polarized sunglasses are amazing because they are great for all lighting and weather types. They work to enhance your view and reduce glare. Bicycle accident lawyers agree that you should carry three sets of lenses: dark, yellow, and clear. Dark lenses enhance vision in bright light. Yellow works great for low visibility day light. Clear lenses are perfect for keeping your eyes protected at night.
The best thing you can do to keep yourself safe as a commuter is to outfit yourself with the right gear. Exact rules don’t exist in life and the law. If you do find yourself in a crash with an auto, consult with an experienced bicycle accident attorney.