Bicycling has become one of the most popular leisure activities, forms of exercise, and alternative transportation methods in the United States thanks to its accessibility and environmentally friendly nature. If you’re new to Phoenix or thinking of taking up biking in Phoenix, it’s important to know the safest places to bike and the common bicycling hazards the area presents.
If you spend some time researching bicycle safety in Phoenix, you’re likely to find several contradictory articles. Some will claim Phoenix is one of the safest and most bicycle-friendly cities in the country, while others claim that Phoenix is one of the deadliest cities for bicyclists. It’s vital to understand where these claims come from and the types of risks you will face when you bicycle in Phoenix.
Is Phoenix Dangerous for Bicyclists?
Traffic accident data from 2017 reported that 249 bicyclists formed about 6% of all traffic fatalities that year alone. Bicycle accidents happen for many reasons, including impaired driving, speeding, and poor visibility. It’s also possible for bicyclists to cause accidents. However, whenever a bicyclist has an accident with a motor vehicle driver, it is almost always the bicyclist who suffers the worst of the injuries.
Phoenix is a busy metropolitan area, and about 75% of all fatal bicycle accidents occur on urban streets. Drivers have a responsibility to share the road with bicyclists, and bicyclists have the responsibility of adhering to traffic signals and signs just like all other motor vehicle drivers. If you’re going to ride a bike in the downtown Phoenix area, there are a few things to consider. It’s vital to take the inherent risks of your surroundings into account, to ride an appropriate bicycle in good working order, and to use additional safety equipment, such as a Department of Transportation-approved helmet to reduce your risk of fatal injury in a bicycle accident.
Why Is Phoenix Bicycle-Friendly?
While the accident statistics involving bicycle-related fatalities in Phoenix may be shocking to some, it’s also likely that you will see many different news stories about how bicycle-friendly the Phoenix area actually is. The League of American Bicyclists recently awarded Phoenix a Bronze rating for bicycle-friendliness, thanks in no small part to the city’s recent commitment to add more than 1,000 bike lanes throughout the Phoenix area by 2050.
This effort aims to improve road safety for all Phoenix-area drivers, bicyclists included, by repaving many Phoenix roads, incorporating new bike lines into these roads, and improving visibility and buffer zones for bicyclists in high-risk areas. The project will require the city of Phoenix to pave roads at about three times the current rate to meet their projected goals.
Tips for Avoiding Bicycle Accidents in Phoenix
While you will soon be able to enjoy many more miles of bike lanes throughout the Phoenix area, it is important now to understand the risks you face when you ride your bike in Phoenix. A few simple tips can help you avoid fatal injury:
- Wear appropriate safety gear. While the Phoenix area may not strictly require the use of a helmet on a bicycle, wearing an appropriately fitted helmet can potentially mean the difference between a concussion and a fatal brain injury in a bicycle accident.
- Ride with the flow of traffic. You might assume that riding against traffic will make you more obvious to other drivers and, therefore, safer. However, this is certainly not the case. Always ride with the flow of traffic as close to the posted speed limit as you can manage. Arizona law stipulates that bicyclists have the right to take a lane and to occupy traffic lane space the same way as a motor vehicle except on certain roads, such as highways and on/off
- Use reflectors. If you ever ride your bicycle at night, the risk of an accident increases dramatically. Attaching reflectors to your bicycle will make you much more visible to passing vehicles and reduce the chances of experiencing an accident.
- Use bike lanes wherever available. You may have the right to travel in a traffic lane like all the other cars nearby, but it’s always best to stick to the bike lane if there is one. In the coming years, you are sure to see many more bike lanes added throughout the Phoenix area.
Hopefully, these tips can help you reduce your risk of experiencing a serious bicycle accident in Phoenix. If you do experience a bicycle accident due to another party’s negligence, a Phoenix bicycle accident attorney can help you recover your losses. Contact Luis P. Guerra, LLC today if you need legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney in Phoenix about a bicycle accident claim.