Whether you commute to work in the greater Boston area or anywhere in Massachusetts, there are several safety tips that can help you stay safe on your commute.
Especially with the high gas prices in Massachusetts these days, even more people are considering switching to cycling. In addition to saving money, cycling is also a great way to exercise and help make a positive environmental impact. The growing popularity of e-bikes also makes it easier to commute via bicycle than ever before.
As a cyclist who commutes, you spend more time on your bike than most people, travel long distances each day, and put in more weekly miles than an average person. In light of the time you spend on your bike and the distance you cover, there are some safety concerns to be aware of when commuting on your bicycle.
General Safety Tips for Commuter Cyclists in Massachusetts
Cyclists have many rights and responsibilities while on the road. Keeping yourself safe is also a top priority.
Visibility When Cycling
- Your visibility is essential when you are on a bike. The best thing to do is to wear bright neon colors. Studies show that fluorescent colors are most visible to drivers. Fluorescent red, yellow, and orange are especially effective colors due to their sharp contrast with the riding environment.
- Increasing your visibility can ensure that drivers see you, and see you in time, if they need to swerve quickly or turn to avoid hitting you. Having lights on the front and back of your bike will also help with visibility.
- Be sure to signal your intentions whenever you can safely and ride predictably. The more predictable you are – by NOT weaving in and out of traffic or parked cars – the more likely a driver will be able to see you.
- Especially if you have an e-bike, speed is a factor to consider regarding safe cycle commutes in Massachusetts. No matter your speed, it’s always important to be aware of your speed and how it compares to the surrounding traffic and the pace of drivers.
- Drivers are often poor judges of cyclists’ speed, which can lead to many drivers passing cyclists to make a right turn, but not realizing that the cyclist is nearly right beside them again. It’s important to be aware of your speed, and also important to be aware that other drivers often misjudge your speed, especially when it comes to turns, intersections, and pulling out of driveways.
- Whenever possible, ride in protected bike lanes or on bike paths. While this is not always a possibility, taking advantage of protected or painted bike lanes will help protect you on your commute.
- Whether in a bike lane, or cycling on the road, always ride with traffic and not against it.
- Always keep an eye out for car doors opening, as bike lanes are often along street parking.
Choosing The Best Bike Route
- If there is more than one way to get to work, take a moment to consider the best way to get to work and the best way to get home. While one route may be more efficient when driving, it’s likely that another route is roughly the same distance by bike but might be on more quiet or less busy roads, which can mean a safer commute.
- There are three types of insurance we recommend for Massachusetts cyclists. There is Bike Insurance for when you’re at fault for an accident, insurance for if you’re hit by a car, insurance to protect your bike, and more. Check out our bike insurance blog to learn more about the options available.
To ensure your bike is appropriately equipped to keep you safe on the road, check out our breakdown of Massachusetts bike laws that you need to know in our blog. That is also a great blog to check out if you are new to cycling in Massachusetts.
What Happens if You are Involved in a Bike Accident? Here is your Bike Accident Checklist:
We hope you never need this information, but if you or a friend needs it someday, it’s worth knowing so you’re equipped if you’re ever involved in a bike accident.
- After your accident, carefully get up and move around if you can. Take some time to check yourself for injuries and pay attention if you feel pain anywhere. Get out of the road to somewhere safe.
- Check out your helmet for damages, as this could indicate how hard you hit your head and if you may have a concussion.
- If you are seriously injured or feel like you are not fully aware of what happened, call 9-1-1 and seek medical treatment immediately.
- Call the police to get an accident report if you're able to.
- While waiting for the police to arrive, look over your bike. Take note of its condition, and take any photos of the damage to your bike.
- Take photos of the accident scene, look for other cars or bikers involved, and take photos of any skid marks on the road or other forms of property damage.
- Get the names and contact information of the driver, or whoever else was involved in the accident.
- Document what happened, take note of any injuries you have, and contact your insurance company.
- Even if you don’t need emergency medical attention, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as you can if you’re injured to get medical documentation of your injuries and get the treatment you need.
- Contact an experienced Massachusetts bicycle injury attorney. If a driver caused your accident, we could pursue a claim against their car insurance company. Even if another cyclist or a pedestrian caused your accident, we could pursue a claim against their home, renters, or bike insurance company.
Injured On A Bike In Massachusetts? Our Chelsea And Peabody Bike Accident Attorneys Offer FREE Consultations
If you were injured in a bicycle or e-bike accident, Spada Law Group’s injury attorneys can work to protect your legal rights. We have three offices and proudly serve the entire state with the ability to meet with you remotely from the comfort of your own home. Contact us for a free consultation so we can learn more about your bike or e-bike injury case and see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve after your accident.