Everything You Need to Know About Bicycle Accidents and Safety in Northern Arizona
Bicycling has numerous benefits. Cyclists enjoy physical exercise, roadways contain less motorized traffic, and communities breathe cleaner air. As more people opt for biking, cities such as Flagstaff have taken measures to promote bicycle safety. However, accidents still take place, so it's essential to know how they happen, how to prevent them, and what to do if one occurs.
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to bicycle accidents. Keep reading to learn about accident prevention and steps to take after a crash to ensure a strong personal injury claim.
Bicycle Statistics in Flagstaff Arizona
Analyzing bicycle crash data is extremely useful. This information provides insight into how often accidents occur and what factors contribute to them. Below are some bicycle accident statistics from the City of Flagstaff:
- From 2009-2018, 524 accidents involving bicycles occurred in Flagstaff
- Two in five of these accidents took place at night or in low-lit areas
- Over half of these bicycle accidents happened inside intersections or in connection to intersections
- Vehicle drivers were responsible for more than half of these accidents. Bicyclists were at fault in 44% of these accidents, whereas drivers were responsible for 56%
The above statistics show that understanding traffic laws, especially at intersections, is important for both cyclists and motorists. Additionally, bicyclists can take safety precautions to protect themselves from other accident factors. The following section addresses bicycle safety in two parts: Arizona law pertaining to bicycles and further safety tips for cyclists.
Arizona Traffic Laws
Arizona law asserts that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles on the road. Cyclists must stop for red lights and stop signs, look to check that it's clear to turn or change lanes, signal all turns, and yield for pedestrians at crosswalks and sidewalks.
Furthermore, bicycles moving slower than the posted speed limit should ride as close to the right of the road as possible, although there are exceptions where another lane placement is accepted. Riders are always permitted to occupy any part of a lane when their safety requires it, including instances of passing, making left turns, and avoiding any obstructions that are on the right of the road.
Cyclists must use a white headlight and red rear reflector during times when there is low light. Two bicycles riding side by side are permitted, but no more than two are allowed except on designated bike paths. Each individual on a bike must have a designated seat, and every bicycle must have a working brake. One hand must be on the handlebars at all times, and a cyclist is never allowed to be attached to another vehicle on the road in any way.
It's important to note that parked vehicles must look before opening a car door to make sure that traffic is clear. This instance is often referred to as “dooring”, and if a cyclist is struck by someone opening a car door, the person that opened the door is liable for the accident.
Arizona law also recognizes that exceptional conditions can impact bicycles more than motor vehicles. For more information about bicycle laws in Arizona, check out the Arizona Department of Public Safety website.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists
Beyond following the traffic laws in the area, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that cyclists take extra safety precautions, outlined below:
- Wear a properly fitted helmet
- Ensure that your bike fits you comfortably
- Check to be sure that all parts of your bike function properly
- Wear visible clothing
- Ensure that all shoelaces are securely fastened and that no loose clothing will get caught in the bicycle chain
- Have both hands on the handlebars at all times (except when signaling)
- Be sure to properly signal all turns
- Carry all items in a backpack or secure bag on the rear of the bike
- Drive in the same direction as motor traffic
- Use defensive driving techniques
- Limit distractions and never text while biking
What to Do in the Event of a Bicycle Accident
It's important to remember that if a bicycle accident does happen, protection still exists. Personal injury claims seek to earn you compensation if an accident was caused by another party. Below are steps you can take to strengthen personal injury claims right away.
Get Authorities Involved
If you've been in a bicycle accident, the first step is to move to safety. Once in a safe location, be sure that authorities arrive at the scene and take down an official account of what happened.
Assess if anyone witnessed the accident. If so, be sure to get their contact information and encourage them to provide their account to the present officials.
Collect and Preserve Evidence
If you can, take pictures of the scene. Keep all medical records, including bills and treatment plans. Keep the clothes you were wearing unwashed, and hang onto your bike if you can.
Document Your Account of What Happened
It's important that you also give your account to the authorities. As soon as you can, write down your memory of what happened with as much detail as possible. You will have to recount your experience in the future, so having a written account will help keep your memory of the accident sharp.
Treat Your Injuries Quickly
Use your own medical insurance to receive professional attention for all injuries in a timely fashion. Insurance companies will take note of any delays in treatment. It's also helpful to keep a journal about your injuries. Log details about your healing process, including notes about your pain levels, your physical ability, your mental health, and how your injuries have impacted your daily life.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Each case is unique, so it's best to get a lawyer involved quickly. The right attorney will guide you through the personal injury process based on the specifics of your case. The sooner you get an attorney on your side, the sooner a foundation can be created to build a strong case.
Contact Glazer, Hammond & Ruben, PLLC for Your Personal Injury Claim
There are times when despite your best efforts to stay safe, someone's negligent driving can result in an accident. If you've found yourself in this situation, let Glazer, Hammond & Ruben, PLLC take you through the personal injury process.
Attorney Keith Hammond has over 30 years of legal experience in Northern Arizona. He's represented many cyclists in that time and has ensured that they receive as much compensation as possible. If you've been in a bicycle accident, you do not have to face the aftermath alone. Reach out to Glazer, Hammond & Ruben, PLLC now and get your claim started.