May is National Bike Safety Month

man on motorcycleWith that warm and beautiful weather, comes an even greater responsibility for adults and children be aware of your surroundings as you head out to share and enjoy the roads on your bicycle.

According to the NHTSA, 630 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 51,000 were injured in 2009 in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, and made up 2 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.

The best guideline is: Be Alert. Be Wary. Be Seen.

Be Alert: Scan ahead, center, left and right.

woman standing by motorcycleAlthough drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists, many times the cyclist is not seen. All drivers and riders should be courteous.

Drivers should:

>allow at least three feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road,

> look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space,

> and yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals.

> Be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.

Cyclists need to

> keep your head up and look ahead, not at the ground. You need to see what is coming up so you have time  to react and maneuver.

> ride one person per bike. Riding with unsecured passengers puts you at risk for injury to yourself and others.

> ride in single file with space between bikes.

> ride on the right side of the road, never against traffic. Otherwise, you are at risk for an accident – or a ticket.

Be Wary: Pay attention to vehicles, pedestrians and others on the road.

woman who fell off bikeBicyclists are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.

Be Seen: Use your horn, hand signals and light to be seen by others on the road.

Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn,

and dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.

Important Safety Reminder:

All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way

to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash. California state law requires helmets for all bicyclists under age 18.


Bill Daniels is a trial lawyer and shareholder with the law firm of DANIELS LAW in Sherman Oaks, CA.  A graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, he is a former member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles Board of Governors, a founding member of Loyola’s Civil Justice Program and a past president of the Encino Lawyers Association.  Since 2007, he has been named a Southern California “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine.  Mr. Daniels focuses his practice on serious personal injury, insurance and employment. For information, visit our website at or contact us through e-mail: