Despite the cold, frosty winters in northern Utah, Salt Lake Valley offers a plethora of fantastic biking opportunities and boasts a dedicated and supportive cycling community. Whether you’re a year-round cyclist or a casual summer rider, bike safety is the most important aspect to consider before riding any time of the year. So, before you head out for the open road, here are a few basic bike safety guidelines from an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.
Utah Bicycle Safety: Inspections and Tune-Ups
Like most vehicle check-ups, bikes, too, need to be inspected before a long trip. There are numerous ways to inspect your bike, all of which are quite similar to inspecting a car. The following bike safety inspection tips will keep you safe on the road:
- Check brake pads and levers; make adjustments if need be and verify your brakes still provide stopping power
- Properly lubricate chains and deraillers so they function smoothly
- Inspect tire pressure and make sure air is at proper PSI
- Check tire tread and grip
- Make sure handlebars feel sturdy and grips are in good condition to hold
- Wear a helmet that fits perfectly with your head
- Use flexible rearview bike mirrors
If you frequently travel by bike, you should know there is nothing more important than wearing a helmet. Your helmet should always be snug and be free from cracks and damage. In fact, bicyclists should replace their helmet every five years and should always be replaced after a bike crash.
But if you’re not a bike tinkerer yourself, there are plenty of local bicycle shops in the Salt Lake Valley area that would be happy to perform a spring tune up for you. If you would like to learn more about basic bike maintenance in a hands-on environment, here’s a community bike co-op called the Bicycle Collective.
Utah Bike Safety: Rules of the Road
We all know there is driving etiquette for vehicles, but here are the “Rules of the Road” that all bike riders should follow as well:
1. Go With the Flow: Ride in the same direction as vehicle traffic. Ideally to the right of traffic about a car door’s width from parked cars.
2. Obey Traffic Laws: You are bound by the same common rules as all vehicles on the road. To download and print out a pocket-sized summary of Salt Lake’s bicycle traffic laws visit here.
3. Stay Alert: Always stay focused on traffic and changing road conditions. Play it safe and don’t take any chances.
4. Hand Signals: Use hand signals to indicate turning, stopping or merging. Arm pointing straight out indicates a turn to that side, up at a right angle up indicates a turn to the opposite side and arm down palm open means stop. Signaling is courteous, promotes safety for everyone and is required by law.
5. Be Seen: Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night in addition to the required lighting. Make eye contact with drivers when possible and do not assume they see you.
6. Sidewalk Safety: Many beginning bicyclists assume that the sidewalk is safer than biking on the road. While this certainly can be true at times there are some important considerations before taking to the sidewalks. Pedestrians always have the right of way. Drivers frequently do not anticipate bikes on sidewalks so navigating driveways and intersections require caution; Sidewalk cycling is prohibited in Salt Lake City near the square area between North Temple, 500 South, 400 West, and 200 East.
7. Bicycle Lights: Salt Lake bike laws require all riders to have a white headlight, red tail light or reflector and side reflectors all visible from a distance of 500 feet. This requirement is in effect any time you ride earlier than 30 minutes before sunrise, later than 30 minutes after sunset or whenever it is otherwise difficult to make out vehicles 1,000 feet away. Working lights makes good sense to increase your visibility to cars helping prevent accidents and it is the law.
8. Don’t Ride Distracted: Texting or talking on the phone while biking can be an invitation to disaster. Even listening to music on your headphones can obscure warning sounds or otherwise delay your response to a sudden or unexpected hazard.
Safe Bicycle Routes in Utah
Finding the safest route in and around Salt Lake City can be quite challenging. Some roads boast a full bike lane while others offer only a perilously thin shoulder to ride on. An excellent resource by UTA has been provided to help you identify where bike lanes exist allowing you to choose the bike route that matches your comfort level and assists in making sure you are taking the safest routes possible. The safest bike route map is also compatible with certain GPS and smartphone apps. Here is a link to download the Bikeways Map.
Contact The Advocates About Your Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents are incredibly traumatic for anyone involved. Worrying about insurance claims, lost wages and the headache of an ongoing legal case is a lot for one person to deal with alone. A bicycle accident lawyer who specializes in such accidents will be able to help you navigate the ins and outs of building a strong personal injury claim.
We at the Advocates believe everyone deserves a dedicated and diligent professional to help guide you through the difficult process of obtaining just compensation after a bicycle accident. From handling insurance questions to compiling medical records a bike accident lawyer who specializes in bicycle accidents will be there for you every step of the way. Call us today 24/7 at (801) 326-0809 or take advantage of our live online chat on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!
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