In late October, a bicycle accident occurred in Philadelphia along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. A 52-year-old bike rider was hit by a car and sustained serious injuries necessitating transport to the hospital. The bike crash was one of many that happen in the city each year, but attracted attention because Mayor Nutter was alerted to the accident by an aide who saw the crash. According to CBS Local Philadelphia, the mayor stopped and rendered aid to the accident victim, remaining at the crash scene until medical help arrived.
The fact that the mayor was involved and the bike accident widely publicized is a very good thing, as it reminds motorists that they need to be careful of bicycle riders even in the winter months as the weather grows cooler. While any bicycle accident lawyer in Delaware Valley knows that bike accidents are especially likely to happen in the summer since more people ride, the winter can be dangerous for bikers as well. In fact, in some ways, the winter presents more of a risk to bikers because the roads are slippery, it gets darker earlier and drivers may not be paying attention to bikes because they don’t expect to see them in the cold.
Bicycle Accidents Still a Risk in Winter
Although many drivers assume they don’t need to worry about bikes in the winter, the truth is that many people commute via bicycle even during the winter months. Philadelphia makes it possible for motorists to do this (and also to walk if they wish to do so) because the city has a good environment for bicyclists. The Walk Score for Philadelphia is 76, while the Bike Score is 67. Philadelphia is described as a “very walkable” city because the majority of errands can be accomplished by someone who is on foot without a vehicle.
Philadelphia earned its walk score and bicycle safety score for more reasons than just proximity of amenities. Walkscore.com described Philadelphia has having terrain as “flat as a pancake” and as having good bike lanes. This is good news for bicycle riders, but of course as the recent accident shows, this doesn’t mean that there are no risks of getting hurt or killed in a crash.
Bike riders and motorists both must be careful to avoid high-risk behavior that could lead to a crash happening. Motorists, for example, must:
- Be on the lookout for bicyclists, who may continue to ride throughout the winter.
- Avoid encroaching on bicycle lanes and wait to pass a bicycle rider until there is plenty of room and it is safe to do so.
- Yield the right-of-way to bike riders, who are entitled to the same respect as any other driver on the road.
Bicycle riders, to do their part to avoid accidents, should wear brightly colored clothing; understand that visibility may be reduced in the winter; should obey the rules of the road; and should try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road or making a turn to ensure that the motorists see them.
A bicycle accident lawyer in Philadelphia can help if you are involved in a crash. Contact Flager & Associates at 1-215-953-5200 for a free case consultation.