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Staying safe: 4 tips for staying safe in the bike lane

You love heading out for a bike ride, but you know that when you're on the roads, you're at risk of being hit by a car. Even though you use the bike lanes, there's no guarantee that you won't get hit.

Drivers don't always pay attention, and those who are parked could fling open a door and cause you to collide with it. Biking has its hazards, but there are a few tips you can follow to stay safer.

1. Use a headlight

If you ride in the morning or at night when the light is dim or it's dark outside, it's a good idea to use a headlight. A headlight makes you easier to see, and when combined with reflective clothing and materials on your bike, drivers can see you in the bike lane more easily. Lights for bicycles often have multiple modes including one with a red light, one with strobes and one that is a solid beam.

2. Say to the left in the bike lane

If there are parked cars to your right, you know there is a risk of the drivers swinging open the doors in your path. Instead of risking it, try to ride as far left in the bike lane as possible. This can help you avoid the door even if it is opened, because you should be out of reach.

3. Never ride against traffic

Bike lanes often tell you which way to travel, but if not, remember that if you're using one, you need to move with traffic. If you ride against traffic, you're more likely to get into a head-on collision, even though drivers may see you coming more effectively.

Remember, drivers aren't expecting to see traffic coming from the wrong direction, so that can mean that you'll be at a higher risk of getting hit than if you simply rode in the bike lane.

4. Be smart at red lights

Instead of stopping immediately next to a vehicle at a red light, try your best to make yourself visible to the driver. Stop next to the passenger-side window or far enough ahead or behind the driver that you can see his or her mirrors clearly. If you can see the driver's mirrors, he or she should be able to see you, but there are blind spots along the side of vehicles. Consider using a small horn or waving to let the driver know you're in the lane next door.

These are just a few tips to help keep yourself safe when you're riding in the bike lane. If you're struck, you do have a right to file a claim against any negligent driver.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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