Summer in Oregon is an awesome time for people looking to get outdoors. After all, for the outdoor enthusiast, we really do have it all. There is swimming, rafting, kayaking, and canoeing on beautiful lakes and rivers. Some people enjoy hiking on gorgeous trails with mountain views. We have swimming holes, ocean vistas, waterfalls, and amazing nighttime star gazing. And, of course, bicycling.
Perhaps nothing suggests summer more than all the bikes we see during this time of year. From kids out of school to adults enjoying weekends and vacations, there are options for everyone. But biking can also be dangerous. Therefore, it is essential to have a firm grasp of important safety measures to help avoid unnecessary danger. In this article, we will discuss Oregon’s love of biking and how to do it safely.
Popularity of Biking
Biking has been gaining in popularity for a long time, but interest in riding a bicycle increased tremendously during the pandemic. According to TODAY, bikes started flying off the shelves in 2020. Of course, people are no longer trying to deal with quarantines, but biking is still popular. Road biking meets the needs of many competitive bicyclists. Mountain biking continues to attract new fans. Kids use biking both as transportation and as an activity. And many people use biking as a fun way to share family time.
All of this is especially true in Oregon. A quick search on the internet reveals numerous commercial bicycle tours, including road biking, gravel riding, e-bike adventures, mountain biking, and touring the coast. But Oregonians also bike for more practical reasons. Many adults use bicycles for transportation. In fact, Oregon Live reports that Oregon has the highest rate of employees in the nation who commute to work. That is definitely a statistic of which we can be proud.
Dangers in Bicycling
Biking also comes with dangers. Unfortunately, for a variety of different reasons, drivers of automobiles and other motor vehicles sometimes are not paying careful attention and hit bikers. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2015 that cyclists represented 2.3 percent of traffic fatalities. In the survey, the term “cycling” covered bicycles, tricycles and non-motorized unicycles.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2015 there were 1000 bicyclist deaths and the number of bicyclists suffering injuries totaled almost 467,000. Multiple rankings list Oregon relatively high on their lists of dangerous states for bicyclists.
Staying Safe While Riding a Bicycle
NHTSA offers a helpful page addressing bicycle safety. Below, we will touch on some of the agency’s highlights, as well as share other common-sense measures.
- Wear a helmet. Virtually everyone who addresses bicycle safety, including NHTSA, stresses the importance of wearing a helmet. Most organizations see this as the number one protective act a person can take. Make sure the helmet fits and follow all manufacturer instructions when wearing it.
- Make sure your bike is the right size for you and in good operating order.
- Wear reflective gear.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Ride defensively to avoid accidents.
This last tip may sound obvious, but knowing certain facts and statistics can help you ride more safely in order to avoid accidents with cars and pedestrians. Keep in mind the following:
- Deaths for bicyclists are highest between June and September.
- Almost 75 percent of fatalities happen in urban locations.
- A failure to yield the right of way is the number one factor causing crashes.
- Do not drink alcohol and ride.
- Be careful at night because you are hard for motorists to see. Carry a light.
Call with Questions
If you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent motorist, you are entitled to recover damages for your losses and to be made whole. However, we understand that you will almost certainly have questions about these rights. Please call us for a free consultation so that we can answer all of your questions. The personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are experienced at investigating and pursuing wrongdoers on behalf of our clients. We strongly believe that the only way to make our society safer is to hold negligent actors accountable for the harm that they cause.