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Bicycle Safety as New Orleans Residents Look for Ways to Explore the City During COVID-19

Posted in Car Accidents,COVID-19,Distracted Driving,Truck Accidents on May 29, 2020

Many people are unaware that under Louisiana’s statutes, bicycles are classified as a vehicle per the Louisiana state legislature. Because of this, bicyclists have the same duties as well as the same rights all motorists have across the state including the right to travel on roadways and the duty to obey traffic laws.

Since the COVID-19 state of emergency was declared by Governor John Bel Edwards on March 6, more residents of New Orleans have ventured out on their bikes to enjoy the seasonal weather, enjoy a change of scenery, and get some exercise. Even as businesses begin to open, residents who are concerned about utilizing crowded public transportation, more residents are taking advantage of the flexibility of getting around by bicycle. This means you need to remain safe as you travel around New Orleans.

Less Crowded Roads Do Not Guarantee Your Safety

Since the Governor has started his phased-in reopening plan, the roadways are not as crowded as they may have been pre-coronavirus given that most establishments are allowed to open with very limited occupancy. Operating a bicycle allows you to remain a safe distance from other people as well as offering the additional benefit of being environmentally friendly and an inexpensive way to get around New Orleans. Given the health and other benefits of bike riding, it is a good idea to keep the following bicycle safety tips in mind:

  • Visibility Remains Key — reflectors on your clothing, bike and helmet can help ensure you remain safe while riding. Bicyclists should also ensure the bike has a proper white front and red rear light for added visibility. Remember, the more visible you are, the more likely a vehicle operator is to see you in the roadway.
  • Protective Gear Keeps You Safer — while only those bicyclists under the age of 12 are required to wear a helmet, everyone is safer when they wear the appropriate helmet when operating a bike. You should also make sure your clothing cannot get caught in the gears of your bike.
  • Plan a Safe Route — check traffic reports if you can avoid travel into an area known for heavy traffic. It is usually better to travel on roads with lower speed limits as well since lower speeds tend to be safer than roadways where the “normal” speed limit is over 50.
  • Watch Parking Areas — remember, a parked car can be dangerous for a bicycle operator. You could easily get “doored” when a driver or passenger tries to exist their vehicle. They may not think to look before opening the door and you must be ready to get out of the way if needed.
  • Attentiveness Improves Safety — the last thing you want to do is be distracted while operating a bicycle. Make sure you do not take unnecessary risks like answering your cell phone, playing loud music, or looking around at scenery while you should be focused on the road.
  • Use Proper Hand or Other Safety Signals — if your bike is equipped with a bell, or other safety signal, make sure you use them. This applies when you are dealing with cars or pedestrians. Make sure you are familiar with hand signals and use them properly. When approaching a pedestrian, you can also call out if needed.
  • Directions Should Be Followed — bicycle operators should be traveling in the same direction as the traffic at all times. Make sure you are paying attention to lanes designated as turn lanes if you do not intend to turn. Also, make sure you are keeping alert to traffic which may be making a turn to ensure you are not struck by a car making an unexpected turn.

Good Safety Habits Do Not Always Mean You Are Safe

Unfortunately, bike safety tips can only do so much to protect you on the roadways. Drivers who are not paying attention, road hazards, construction zones all pose unique threats to bicycle operators. While you may take all the necessary steps to protect yourself, it is difficult to predict what types of hazards you may face on the roadways in New Orleans. Because of this, you will want to make sure if you are involved in an accident, you know what you should do to help ensure your rights are protected at the scene of the New Orleans bicycle accident.

What To Do Following a New Orleans Bicycle Accident

The first thing you want to do is get as far away from traffic as possible assuming you are able to do so. Because of the lack of personal protection you have when operating a bicycle you may need assistance from pedestrians or from motor vehicle operators. In addition to making sure you are safe from being struck by another vehicle you should try to remove your bike from the roadway.

If you are able to do so safely, take photographs of the scene and make sure you capture street signs, damage to your bike, and other pertinent information which you may need later. You will also want to obtain the information from passersby who may have seen the incident as well as the contact and insurance data from the vehicle involved in the accident.

You MUST seek medical attention, even if you believe you have only minor injuries.  This is especially true when you are operating a bicycle because you cannot determine whether you have internal injuries without seeking medical attention.

Contact a New Orleans Bicycle Accident Attorney

After you have sought medical attention and you are back at home recovering from your injuries, it is important you understand your options for recovering financially. Chances are high you will be out of work while you recover from your injuries, and you will be facing growing medical bills due to your injuries. It is imperative you use caution when discussing the accident or your injuries with an insurance adjuster as well, therefore you should seek guidance from an experienced, skilled personal injury attorney who has experience with bicycle accidents.

If you were injured on New Orleans roadways while exploring the city during COVID-19, or you lost a loved one due to a negligent auto operator, contact the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC at 504-500-5000 as soon as possible and see what legal options you have to recover financially.