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When the Brakes Break: Sharing the Road with Cyclists

Industry bicycle leader Trek recently recalled a series of brake levers that consumers complained were malfunctioning. Although Trek has stood by the statement that this was not a manufacturing defect, but rather improper use or adjustment issues, the company issued a recall of nearly one million bikes between the United States and Canada. Regardless of the reason behind the problem, the malfunctioning brakes have left at least one Trek rider severely injured. This, coupled with unsafe bicycle communities throughout the United States, creates great concerns about the safety of our cyclists on our roads.

Bicycle Safety

According to the Legal Examiner, May was National Bike Month. This fact has brought this recent Trek recall to the forefront of bicycle safety activists, in addition to another recall by Felt Bicycles at the beginning of May. These recalls are particularly concerning as spring turns into summer and more people are beginning to dust off their bikes to prepare for exploring the outdoors.

This is an even bigger hit to South Carolinians, who, unfortunately, live in what has been ranked the 44th most biker friendly state. This means that in addition to making sure equipment is in working order, bike safety and vehicle awareness is critical for those that brave enough to pedal the roads in South Carolina.

Biking can be both fun and safe, but requires participation from by both drivers and cyclists to safely share the road. Consider the following tips from both sides to keep this upcoming bike season safe for everyone.

For Bikers:

  • Never assume a driver sees you
  • Though a biker has most of the same road rights as cars; bikes are not cars. Stay in bike lanes whenever possible, use signals, and abide by the same rules you would if you were in a car. This includes coming to a complete stop at stop signs and other signals
  • Wear a helmet. There is no good reason not to wear a helmet. It is a simple way to protect your life in the event of an accident
  • Wear reflective gear if riding at night
  • Carry light loads; carrying unnecessary weight can change how you ride and affect your speed, balance, and overall performance
  • Start slow when riding on the road. Try traveling short distances before biking all the way across town. This will give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with bike routes and more accessible roads and communities so you can get to your destination safely

For Drivers:

  • Bikers share the road with cars; that means that you follow the same rules for passing, signaling, and turning as you do with cars. Do not cut in front of bikes or assume that bicyclists see you coming
  • Slow down. Bicyclists have a lot going on and even if they are watching for you, their steel-framed bikes are no match for a car. Stay as far away as possible without crossing into oncoming traffic and respect the road that bicyclists are entitled to
  • Try to remain calm. Drivers often get angry with bikers for doing what they have a right to do. Try to remember that the bikers have a right to share the road and can use your cooperation in making it a safe place for them to ride

Liability and Personal Injury Attorneys

Regardless of whether you have been injured due to a product defect or suffered a personal injury due to an auto or bicycling accident, the Solomon Law Group can help. Our experienced attorneys know how to navigate the court system to handle your case from the very beginning through settlement or trial. You can trust that we will ensure that your rights are protected, that every angle is explored, and that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Contact our office to learn more today.

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