An article recently published on reported that from the year 2000 to 2010 the number of bicycle commuters grew by 40 percent. Riding your bike to work can be a great way to stay in shape and save money but it also leaves you more vulnerable in the event of a traffic collision. While bike riding is still recommended by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration it is also important to be aware of the dangers of riding a bike in traffic.

Unfortunately many Utah drivers are dangerously unaware of the laws that govern bikes on the road. Because of this many cyclists use their bikes in a way that increases the risk of an accident for themselves and other drivers near them.

Rules of the Road

The first thing that a cyclist should be aware of is that they are subject to all the rules of the road. Bicycles are considered moving vehicles in the state of Utah and as such are subject to all traffic signs and lights.

Never Pass on the Right

The second thing that a cyclist needs to know is that they should never pass on the right of another vehicle. Passing on the right will put you in the driver’s blind spot and the driver will not expect you to be on that side of the car.

Ride with Traffic

In addition to always passing on the left, a cyclist should always ride with traffic. You should always stick to the right hand side of the road because motorists do not expect to see you coming at them. The most responsible cyclists are always seeking to alert others to their presence and movements. The best way to do this is with the use of hand signals. Hand signals are your way of communicating to motorists where you are going. Learn them and use them frequently.

Leave the iPod at Home

If you ride your bike as a form of exercise you need to learn to leave your iPod at home. As nice as it is to exercise while listening to music, you need to be able to hear what is going on around you, especially in heavy traffic areas.

Dress for the Ride

Just as important as following the proper traffic guidelines, is the way that you are dressed. Wear bright or reflective clothing. This will help drivers to avoid you. You should also be sure to use lights at night. It is very important while driving at night that you have a headlight on the front and a red reflector on the back. This will make you more visible to motorists.

When cyclists fail to follow these tips they are more likely to get into an accident. Forgetting to signal to cars before turning, passing on the right, or a failure to follow any of the other tips is dangerous and can cost you dearly. Fortunately, if you learn the rules of the road for bikes then the only way that you will be involved in an accident will be if a driver makes a serious mistake or is being severely negligent.  If this happens you could be seriously injured and left with costly medical bills. In this event you should consider hiring a bicycle accident lawyer, such as Christensen & Hymas, who will assist you in getting the compensation you need while recovering from the accident.