In our last
Bike Safety Matters article, we discussed the Helmet Law, Vulnerable User Law, and the Safe Passing
Law. In this article we would like to go over more bicycle safety equipment
and other measures that all riders should take to ensure a safe and enjoyable
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Facts,
618 bicyclists were killed and 52,000 were injured in 2010 in
bicycle accidents. This accounted for 2% of all traffic fatalities and injuries. Approximately
53% of the bicyclist-related fatalities occurs between 4:00pm and midnight.
This is most likely due to reduced visibility during those hours. Wearing
fluorescent or bright clothing, using retro-reflective tapes and markings
on the bicycle and helmet, and equipping front and rear flashing or reflectors
will increase visibility. In fact,
ORS 815.280 outlines the lighting guidelines for bicycle riders in the state. Oregon
law requires bicycles to be equipped with proper lighting during low visibility
conditions. The front light must be white and visible from at least 500
feet. The rear light must be red and visible up to 600 feet. Failure to
follow mandated lighting requirements could will result in a Class D traffic
ORS 815.280 also outlines requirements for brakes. The brakes must be in
good condition that allows the bicyclist to stop within 15 feet when riding
at a speed of 10 mph. To ensure all equipment is in good condition and
working properly, do a quick
Six Point Bike Safety Check prior to riding:
1) Tires should be properly inflated and the tread in good condition.
2) Wheels should be securely fastened and spin freely.
3) The flashing lights should be working. Carry spare batteries if possible.
The reflectors should be securely fastened.
4) Brakes should grip the rim firmly and evenly.
5) The seat should be parallel to the frame and the handle bars should
be perpendicular to the front wheel. Both should be tightened.
6) The bike should fit you comfortably. You should have 1-2 inches clearance
when standing on the ground.
A more detailed
Bicycle Safety Inspection may be needed periodically. Your bicycle should have a tune up at least
once a year or every 1000 miles.
There are many resources and programs for bike riders that support bike
safety. The federal government has established the
National Safe Routes to School Program to encourage children who walk or bike to school to choose the safest
routes. There are other websites that provide many excellence educational
resources on the topic of bike safety for all ages, such as the
Maryland Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Education Curriculum: K-5 and the
Portland Kids on the Move and Smart Moves Safety Curriculum.
The Bicycle Countermeasure Selection System (BIKESAFE) provides resources
and tools to improve the safety of bicyclists. The resources section provides
general information regarding bicycling safety and mobility, such as bicycle
crash statistics and analysis. The tools section provides countermeasures
to be implemented in communities to improve bike safety, such as making
intersections safer for bicyclists.
For parents concerned about their child's safety when biking in the
Bikeability Checklist can help you determine how bike-friendly your neighborhood is. It also
helps you pinpoint the problem areas along with suggestions to how to
deal with the problems.
As much as we would like to prevent accidents and injuries, sometimes accidents
do occur. Having a Medical Information Carrier System (MICS) in your helmet
can save your life. A MICS consists of a small round white sticker with
a red insignia. It is applied to the outside of the helmet and contains
a small medical information sheet with a double-side taped plastic carrier.
The sticker prompts emergency and law enforcement personnel to look inside
the helmet for the medical information sheet.
If you have other questions about bike safety or you have been involved
in a bicycle accident involving another motorist our
Portland personal injury attorneys at Angel Law, P.C. can help. We are an
injury litigation firm in downtown Portland Oregon representing those injured by the carelessness or recklessness