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Bicycle Safety And Prevent Accidents

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Each year, there are more than 1,000 bicycle crashes in Wisconsin. The latest figures from the Wisconsin DOT show that 11 bicyclists were killed and 1,049 were injured in 2012 (most recent figures available). Most bicycle accidents occur between the hours of 3PM – 7PM, the hours after school and the prime time that adults commute from work.   Sadly, children sustain between 1/3 and 1/2 of all bicycle injuries each year.

The two most common types of bicycle/motor vehicle crashes involve a motorists failing to yield the right of way to a straight- through bicyclist when they make a left turn and a bicyclist riding through a sign control; and motorists turning right on a red. It’s no surprise that, much like with motorcycles, bicycle injuries can be very serious when hit by a car as they have very little to protect them, with injuries ranging from back & neck injuries, to multiple broken bones, to traumatic head injuries, to death.

While improvements to bicyclist safety have been made in areas such as engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency response, the number of bicyclists killed statewide has remained steady for the past 23 years.  

In addition to adhering to Wisconsin bicycle laws (a current list is noted at the bottom of this article), remaining vigilant and following some safety tips can help you help you avoid accidents this season.    

  • Obey traffic signs and signals - Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles.

  • Never ride against traffic - Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.

  • Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.