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Bike safely during National Bicycle Month in May

Oct 18, 2014 - Articles by

North Carolina residents should take special care to travel safely during National Bicycle Month.

As the summer months are approaching and the weather in Charlotte has warmed, many people are now choosing to get around town on bicycles. In fact, bicycling is so popular this time of year that May has been designated as National Bicycle Month in North Carolina and across the nation.

During the month of May, individuals are encouraged to ride a bike to work or to school, rather than using motor vehicles to get around. While bicycling is a healthy mode of transportation that does not negatively affect the environment, there are some potential risks involved with this type of transportation. Primarily, those who commute by bike must be wary of sharing the road with motor vehicles.

According to The League of American Bicyclists, North Carolina is the 23rd most bicycle friendly state in the country. In addition, Charlotte is considered a bicycle friendly community, receiving a bronze award from The League.

While our community may be safer than many for bicyclists, the risk of a collision with a motor vehicle is still significant in Charlotte.

Avoid serious bicycle collisions in North Carolina

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 25 bicyclists lost their lives in collisions with motor vehicles in North Carolina in 2011. In total, bicycle accidents accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state that year.

As only about 1 percent of all travel in the United States is done by bicycle, such collisions account for a disproportionate percentage of traffic fatalities. Across the country, approximately 800 bicyclists died in crashes with motor vehicles in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, around 515,000 people required care in an emergency room for injuries suffered in bicycle crashes that year.

While the comparative size and speed of motor vehicles often results in serious injuries for the bicyclists involved, there are some steps bicyclists can take to reduce the severity of injuries suffered in collisions. For instance, bicyclists should always wear a helmet when riding. In addition, they should wear clothing with reflective panels and ensure their bicycle has lights, so motorists can spot them easily at night.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle collision in North Carolina, you should take steps to learn about your options to recover financially for the harm caused in the crash. In such cases, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney, who will be able to ensure your interests are protected.