Bicycling in Greenwich Village is one of life’s great pleasures, but carries a degree of risk. While many of us enjoy the ride, others ride for their livelihood.
Unfortunately, because Greenwich Village, and all of New York City, is primarily pavement, bikes are required to share the road with cars, trucks and other vehicles that can cause considerable harm when they come in contact with a bicycle rider. Unfortunately, you never know when you’ll find yourself in a bicycle accident with that vehicle, so safety and vigilance is important.
Here, we offer some important precautions to reduce your chances of an accident while riding around Greenwich Village, and elsewhere in New York City.
Do A Pre-Ride Inspection
Is your bike roadworthy? Inspections aren’t just for cars and trucks. Check your equipment before you ride, including:
- Tire pressure
- Seat adjustment—proper height and locked into place
- Make sure bike is in proper working order, and all its parts are secure
- Lights, reflectors and other equipment, including rear view mirror, bell, flashers, and other safety equipment.
If your bike is in good working order, you’ll have less chance of a breakdown that can endanger you in traffic.
Wear A Helmet
Bicyclists who ride for work and children under the age of 13 are required by law to wear a helmet, according to BikeSmart, NYC’s online handbook for riding in the area. BikeSmart recommends everyone ride with a helmet, no matter what age.
Helmets reduce your chances of serious head injuries in Greenwich Village bicycle accidents by a whopping 88%, and not having a helmet is the top reason kids between 5 and 14 go to emergency rooms. Head injuries are responsible for fatalities in 75% of bicycle accidents. Helmets can cost as little as $20, but the costs related to not wearing a helmet can be enormous.
A bicycle is still a vehicle, and that requires you to ride with traffic, in the street, not on the sidewalk. Obey all traffic signals, and use hand signals when turning. Use designated bicycle lanes where available, and always in a straight line.
“Dooring” is always a danger to bicyclists, so it’s advisable to keep at least three feet between yourself and parked cars whenever possible. Hitting an open door at even a moderate speed is always dangerous and usually results in the rider getting badly injured.
Does your bicycle have a bell on it? Get one, it’s the law—and use it frequently to warn other riders, pedestrians and drivers that you’re approaching.
For better visibility by others, reflectors as well as a white headlight and a red flashing tail light are required.
Since most bikes don’t have flashers like a car’s, hand signals are extremely important to let drivers behind you know what you’re doing next. The League Of American Cyclists offers a video tutorial on hand signals in traffic, as well as resources on bicycling and their interactive research tool called Bicycle Friendly America.
Riding with music or other streaming media on your phone is a great thing, but can be dangerous. If you’re listening to something while riding, use one earphone only to ensure you can hear traffic as well.
New York’s DOT website also offers some laws and guidelines for riding bicycles.
Bicycle Accident Law Firm In Greenwich Village
We hope that you are never in an accident while riding your bicycle.
Bicycle accidents can be more serious than a car accident. Whether you were hit, or hit someone else, protect yourself against lawsuits, insurance companies and other threats to your livelihood. Call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier at (212) 777-9400 (or use our online contact form.) As a family-owned personal injury law firm in Greenwich Village, we have more than 26 years of experience helping people just like you. Our contingency fee arrangement means we won’t get paid until you do, whether we settle your case in or out of court.