Do you or your kids listen to their iPods while walking or riding their bicycle? Have you consider how dangerous this might be? All distractions pose a potential hazard, especially along the roadways. If music volume is too loud or your child is too engrossed, it is extremely difficult to hear or concentrate on on-coming traffic. Riding a bicycle with one or both ears covered is not safe; it masks one of your key senses. Your ability to hear and respond is severely limited.
This problem was recently highlighted when a teen was riding her bicycle along a Colorado roadway. She veered from the bike lane into on-coming traffic, and was struck by a minivan. Although she was wearing a bicycle helmet, she suffered serious head injuries. It is uncertain why she turned into the traffic, but police believe that listening to her iPod may have been a contributing factor. There is little evidence of driver negligence.
Wearing headphones is a major distraction for cyclists; the same is true for drivers. People in this circumstance must not rely solely on what they see. A cyclist may have an obstructed view of a vehicle when approaching a hill or turning a corner, but might hear life or injury saving traffic noise coming up the hill or around the corner. Cyclists can avoid most accidents by reducing distractions and practicing safety tips. Practicing activity safety on the road is equal if not greater in importance as the gear you use and wear to protect yourself. Simply following the law is just the first step to staying safe. Of course, common sense and being attentive also prevents accidents. Here are a few cyclist safety tips:
- Travel in the same direction as traffic. When traveling against the flow of traffic, a cyclist can appear quickly and unexpectedly to the vehicle driver. The cyclist is also unable to read the road signs.
- Follow the rules of the road.
- Be predictable. Do not make erratic movements. Use hand signals to alert drivers, don’t veer into traffic, or suddenly change directions or make sudden stops.
- Travel as far to the right as possible, but be cautious of pedestrians and parked cars.
- Keep an eye on moving vehicles. Use caution especially at intersections and crossings.
- Always ride single file. Socializing while riding may be fun, but it is also a distraction.
Even at low speeds, bicycle accidents can be very serious. Impacts with a motor vehicle can be far more serious, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, even death. Play it safe. Be aware of your surroundings and situation; tune into your activity instead of your iPod.
Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life funding is needed during litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.