Bicycling is an excellent way to get around in Buffalo, NY. It involves no carbon emissions, so it’s great for the environment. It’s also good exercise for you.
The Dangers of Bicycling on the Road
Drivers in passenger cars often don’t see bicyclists. Even if motorists are being careful, bikes can be hard to see. Like motorcycles, bicycles are smaller than passenger cars — and they don’t make a noise like a motorcycle.
Common Injuries in Bicycle Accidents
Even with protective equipment, you are vulnerable to injury in a bike accident. You often come in direct contact with the pavement if you fall. Common injuries include:
- Broken collarbone: You can break your clavicle by trying to catch yourself with your arms while falling from a bike.
- Hand or arm fracture: Other possibilities from trying to catch yourself are breaking your hand, wrist, arm or elbow. It depends on how you land after the fall.
- Broken hip or leg: If an object or other rider hits you in an accident, you can break a bone in the lower half of your body.
- Fractured ribs: Falling on your side can lead to broken ribs.
- Road rash: It is common for riders to scrape against the pavement during a fall. The resulting abrasions can be superficial or may need skin grafts if severe.
Safety Precautions for Cyclists
While you can’t control what other drivers do, you can make your ride as safe as possible by taking some precautions.
Wear a Helmet
Your helmet should be comfortable and snug-fitting, touching your head all the way around. It should stay put through hard jolts and shakes. New York law requires all riders 14 years old and younger to wear helmets when cycling.
Obey Traffic Laws
Ride on the far right with traffic if the road has no bike lane. Use hand signals when braking and turning. Walk with your bike across busy intersections. Obey traffic signs and signals, and yield to pedestrians, emergency vehicles and approaching cars.
Wear Reflective Clothing
You can increase your visibility by wearing reflective, brightly colored clothing. These are especially important when you ride at night.
Headlights and taillights increase your visibility even in the daytime. At night, they are imperative.
Bicycle Hazards Around Buffalo
Buffalo is always adding more bike trails to accommodate the growing need for eco-friendly transportation. City officials are working to increase safety for cyclists. However, there are hazards that bicyclists need to be aware of when riding around town, whether on a trail or sharing the road with passenger vehicles.
Snow, ice and rain all pose dangerous hazards to cyclists in Buffalo. Trails may be unplowed or slippery. The city receives an average of 85 inches of snow annually, much higher than the national average of 28 inches. Residents can expect some form of precipitation on an average of 164 days yearly.
Road construction has the potential to close streets and bike paths. It also adds more perils to the roadway with equipment, cones, lane changes and other construction-related hazards.
Bicyclists in any city face hazards from other drivers. Speeding vehicles, drivers not watching for bicycles, or drivers who don’t give bicyclists enough leeway are reasons you should always be cautious when riding a bike.
Bike Paths in Buffalo
Fortunately, Buffalo has some excellent bike trails with beautiful views. You can find one whether you prefer countryside scenery or urban destinations.
Ellicott Creek Bike Path
Tranquil and scenic, this path is accessible from North Forest Road or Ellicott Creek Park. It is a reasonably flat asphalt trail with curves and straightaway sections.
Outer Harbor Bike Paths
Enjoy the views from the water’s edge on these paved asphalt trails. Use the Queen City Bike Ferry to connect the inner and outer harbors.
Tonawanda and North Buffalo Rail Trails
Taking you from the city to the suburbs, this bike trail runs along Shoshone Park, through Buffalo and all the way to Tonawanda Creek. Street crossings have button-activated lights to stop traffic.
What To Do if You’re Involved in a Bicycle Accident
If you’re in an accident with a passenger vehicle, you should get to safety immediately. Move to the side of the road or onto a sidewalk. Leave your bike at the scene, though, to preserve evidence.
Once you’re safe, here’s what to do next.
Call the Police
Even if you feel alright, you may still sustain injuries without realizing it. It is best to wait for the police to arrive. If you discover injuries later, it can help your case.
Obtain the driver’s name, address, phone number and insurance information. It’s a good idea to get the vehicle’s make, model and plate number.
If there are witnesses, write down their contact information as well.
Don’t Admit Blame
Don’t negotiate with the motorist or admit fault. It is best to talk to the police and an accident attorney first. Likewise, don’t admit anything to insurance company representatives until you receive legal advice.
Document the Accident
Jot down details regarding the accident, including weather conditions, road hazards, traffic conditions and location. Take photos to document the direction and position of your bike and the vehicle if you can.
If you have a damaged bicycle, torn clothing or other accident evidence, keep it intact until you seek legal advice. It may help later in an investigation.
Seek Medical Help
Even minor injuries can develop into something more serious later. In addition, you can be hurt without realizing it. Having a doctor examine you is a good idea to prevent future problems.
Contact a Legal Representative at Cellino Law
The attorneys at Cellino Law have years of experience working with personal injury cases. We can help you determine your next steps. If you have a case, we will work to get you the compensation you deserve. Call or visit our office today for a free consultation.
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