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Cyclists, drivers responsible for preventing summer car accidents

Did you know that the warmer summer months are a prime time for bicycle accidents? A larger number of Connecticut cyclists become car accident victims during this time of year, often because roads become more congested with road-tripping drivers and bicyclists themselves. Further, the warmer weather encourages more people to cycle to work instead of driving, further exacerbating the problem. Whether you are bicycling for exercise, enjoyment or a commute to work, you run the risk of suffering catastrophic injuries from a negligent driver. Here are some tips to keep your safe during the heat of the summer.

One of the most dangerous times for bike riding is at dusk or in the dark. Cyclists are encouraged to take safety precautions that include outfitting their bicycles with lights and wearing reflective vests or bright colors. Many American cyclists are already using taillights, reflectors and special clothing, but the rates of compliance could always improve. Cycling at night involves specific car accident risks that should be acknowledged and considered when choosing appropriate safety equipment.

Bicyclists can also keep themselves safe by paying attention to their riding behaviors. Cyclists are encouraged to ride in a straight line, consistently checking for traffic and signaling if they intend to turn. Sharp, unpredictable movements can confuse drivers and lead to catastrophic injuries. Be sure that you are following the rules of the road including stopping at signals and stop signs and never cycling while impaired.

Vehicle drivers can also improve cyclist safety by thoroughly searching their surroundings before accelerating from a stop. Cyclists may not be immediately visible, so vigilance is encouraged. Drivers need to make sure that they are appropriately yielding to cyclists at red lights and on the open road, as bicycle riders are more vulnerable to personal injury in the event of a crash. Negligent drivers may be held financially responsible for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages if they fail to take adequate precautions in the presence of cyclists.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Preventing Two-Wheeled Tragedies: The Mistakes We All Make," accessed July 22, 2015

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