For as long as many of us can likely remember, Memorial Day has been the unofficial kickoff for summer. Generally, schools begin their summer breaks right before or right after Memorial Day, which allows families to spend more time together at home and on vacation. This year is particularly special because for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people may be able to enjoy their summer vacation with little to no restrictions.
While this is wonderful news, and Memorial Day Weekend is one the best weekends of the year for many of us, it is also a time where we need to be more conscious than usual regarding our safety and the safety of our families. During Memorial Day Weekend, more people are out on the road than normal, which means that there are more opportunities for traffic accidents. As the most vulnerable members of traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians in particular should practice caution this Memorial Day Weekend and throughout the summer.
Cycling Safety Tips for Memorial Day Weekend
Bicycles are the most vulnerable vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, those driving motor vehicles don’t always share the roads as safely as they should with cyclists, which can lead to devastating accidents and injuries. This issue can be an even bigger problem during Memorial Day Weekend, because there are more cars, trucks, and bicycles sharing the road than normal.
Here are a few cycling safety tips to help you stay safe if you ride your bicycle this Memorial Day Weekend:
- Wear safety equipment – Head injuries are always serious. In many cases, they can be life-altering and permanent. In some cases, a head injury can cost you your life. That’s why it is critical that you wear a helmet anytime you ride your bicycle. However, don’t just wear any helmet. Make sure the helmet is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. You must also ensure that your helmet fits correctly and is worn properly. Click here for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tips for properly wearing a bicycle helmet.
- Properly Maintain your bike – Before you ride your bike, make sure that all its parts are in good condition and working correctly. You should also ensure that everything on your bike is adjusted to fit you, such as your seat, pedals, and handlebars. Check the tires and brakes to make sure they’re working properly. In addition, if you might be riding at night, equip your bike with reflectors, headlights, and taillights. It’s also a good idea to install a horn or bell on your bicycle.
- Follow traffic laws – When you are riding a bicycle on the road, you must follow the same rules as motor vehicles. Ride with traffic. Stop at traffic lights and stop signs. Signal when you make turns or change lanes and obey traffic signs.
- Stay alert – When you’re riding your bike on the road, you are sharing the roadway with cars, trucks, motorcycles, other cyclists, and pedestrians. You must stay alert, because the other drivers, bikers, cyclists, and pedestrians you are sharing the road with may not be paying close attention, which can result in a wreck.
- Don’t drink or do drugs – Just like you should never drive a motor vehicle if you are drunk or have done drugs, you should never ride your bike if you have been drinking. Drinking alcohol and doing drugs can cause you to make poor decisions and react slowly.
Memorial Day Weekend Pedestrian Safety Tips
As stated earlier, there will be more motor vehicles on the roads than normal during Memorial Day Weekend, which means pedestrians should be extra cautious. Here are a few tips to help pedestrians stay safe this Memorial Day Weekend:
- Use sidewalks – One of the best ways to avoid a traffic accident as a pedestrian is to stay off the road. Sidewalks can help pedestrians get where they’re going without stepping foot on the road.
- Walk facing traffic – If sidewalks aren’t available (and even if they are), you should always try to walk on the side of the road where you are facing traffic. When you are facing traffic, you can see vehicles coming and try to avoid traffic accidents if you see them developing. In addition, if there is no sidewalk, you should try to walk as far away from the road as possible.
- Cross at intersections and crosswalks – Intersections and crosswalks are designed for pedestrians to use to cross the road. They often feature walk signs, traffic lights, and stop signs, which can help pedestrians cross the road safely.
- Keep an eye out for vehicles – Drivers can sometimes have trouble seeing pedestrians, so you should make an extra effort to stay alert when you are walking. Keep an eye out for vehicles on the road as well as vehicles entering and exiting parking lots and driveways.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs – Going out for a walk after you have been drinking or doing drugs is not a good idea. Just as drivers are more likely to cause traffic accidents if they drink and drive or do drugs and drive, so are pedestrians. If you are walking, especially near traffic, you need to stay alert, react quickly, and make good decisions, which are things that you are less capable of doing if you have been drinking or doing drugs.
Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help Victims of Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents
Memorial Day Weekend is a time for celebration, spending time with family and friends, and remembrance. It marks the end of the school year and beginning of summer vacation. However, it is also a time when the roads can become flooded with vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians, which unfortunately can result in accidents, injuries, and deaths. Whether you are behind the wheel, riding your motorcycle or bike, or on foot, few things can ruin your Memorial Day, your summer, and possibly the rest of your life as quickly and as completely as a traffic accident.
This Memorial Day, we hope that you and your family have a wonderful time, but we also hope you celebrate responsibly and practice caution if you venture out on the road. At Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, we have seen the devastation that cycling and pedestrian accidents can leave behind. Since 1980, our personal injury lawyers have been helping pedestrian and bicycle accident victims and their families in San Francisco and its surrounding areas hold those responsible for their accidents and injuries accountable.
We understand the burdens victims and their families are under following a pedestrian or cycling accident. They are often suffering under the weight of unaffordable hospital bills, facing the prospect of living with a lifelong injury, at the beginning of a long recovery process, and struggling to make ends meet because their injuries are preventing them from working. That’s why our top priority is protecting our clients and securing the compensation they need for current and future medical costs, job loss, living expenses, and pain and suffering.
Call us at (415) 940-7176 or get in touch with us online to today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced bicycle and pedestrian accident attorneys.