Injured While Cycling? We Can Help
Riding a bicycle in Wilmington, NC is a common way to get around. Between the beautiful Riverwalk, a postcard-perfect Downtown area, and UNCW students whizzing to and from class, a cyclist is a common sight in the Port City. For many Wilmington residents cycling is a great mode of transportation. Not only does it get you from point A to point B, it’s a good way to squeeze in some exercise while doing something kind for the environment.
Despite these perks, there is a risk associated with riding bicycles in Wilmington. Unfortunately, many drivers aren’t aware of cyclists, or don’t see them until it’s too late. Sometimes it’s cyclists who aren’t following the rules of the road. In both cases, the end result is the same—an accident, an injury, and a reason to contact Mulligan Epstein Attorneys. If you’ve been in a bicycle accident, our team may be able to help you recover compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This can be used to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs, as well as damage to your bike or other property. Pain and suffering is also recoverable in bike cases.
Bicycle Safety Tips
In North Carolina, bicycles have the same legal status as vehicles, which means bicycles have the same rights to use the roadways as cars and trucks. It also means bicycles are beholden to the same rules and regulations that automobiles must follow. Cyclists in North Carolina are required to adhere to the following laws, for their safety and the safety of others:
- Ride with traffic. This will keep traffic flowing and increase the visibility of cyclists. You should never ride against traffic. It’s the law.
- Obey all traffic signals and signs. If the light is red, you must stop. If the sign says yield, you must yield. Also, riding the wrong way on a one-way is very dangerous as cars are not looking for oncoming traffic on a one-way road.
- Use hand signals to communicate. Because cyclists don’t have blinkers or brake lights, hand signals are important. You can see examples of appropriate hand signals here.
- Install lights on your bicycle. Bicycles must have a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector or lamp visible from a distance of 200 feet while riding at night. These requirements are minimum requirements. The more lights the better!
- Wear a helmet. Helmets are legally required of all cyclists under the age of 16 years old, but they’re a good idea no matter what age you may be. Head injuries are serious and if it rolls (bikes, skateboards, scooters, etc.) you should use a helmet while on it.
Driver Safety Tips
When it comes to injuries incurred during an accident between a driver and a cyclist, one thing is almost always certain: the cyclist is at a greater risk for injury or worse. If you’re a driver in Wilmington, NC you will be sharing the road with cyclists, and it’s important to drive defensively in order to avoid potential accidents. Here are some ways you can minimize the danger and drive responsibly in Wilmington and surrounding areas:
- Pay attention at all times. Always look before backing out, making turns, or changing lanes, and never text while driving.
- Give cyclists space. While North Carolina has no specific law for passing a cyclist, most states have a minimum 3-feet passing distance. However, three feet is often not enough to pass safely. To avoid injury or death please give cyclists as much space as possible. Take a deep breath and imagine your child, family member, or loved one on that bike.
- Respect the bike lane. There are a number of roads in Wilmington, NC that have designated bike lanes, such as Kerr Avenue and the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail. Since these routes are used by many pedestrians and cyclists, it’s good to be hyper aware when you’re traveling near them.
- Stay alert in parking lots. Many accidents happen in parking lots because drivers are focused on finding a good spot, and because the normal rules of the road don’t always apply. Drive slowly and be aware of people walking or riding in the parking lot.
- Never drive under the influence. This goes for drivers and for cyclists. The risks simply aren’t worth it.
- Please take a deep breath and stay calm. We all rush around to get where we are going but often it only adds a few seconds to wait until the roadway is clear in the opposite direction to safely pass a cyclist.
No matter how safe you are, accidents can happen. Luckily, there are things you can do to minimize the damage to yourself, your property, and your insurance rates. If you need help navigating this unfortunate situation, contact Mulligan Epstein Attorneys today. Our personal injury attorneys can help.