As the summer comes to an end, many Minnesotans feel the pressure. Soon, the days will get cooler and, before we know it, there will be snow. It’s best to get everything done while we still can. That means outdoor home repairs, yard work, picnics and pool parties. And for some of us, that means biking—even if we haven’t been on a bike since last summer.
If you’re thinking about biking this summer and haven’t been on a bike in a long time, here are some tips and reminders to keep you safe.
In Minnesota, cyclists are required to follow the same rules as other vehicles when they’re on the road. That means riding with the flow of traffic and in the same direction as other vehicles. It also means stopping at stop signs and yielding the right of way to other vehicles, when appropriate.
Stay alert at all times, watching for other moving vehicles, parked cars, potholes, broken glass and other hazards. Look before turning and remember to use hand signals: left out; right up; stop down.
There is no helmet requirement for adult cyclists in Minnesota, but a helmet is still an excellent idea. The truth is that bicyclists to get hurt every day in Minnesota. If you are on a bike, you’ll want to protect yourself—especially if you’re a parent. Your children will be watching the safety rules you follow, and it is critical to be a good role model.
While there is no helmet requirement, there is a requirement that your bike be outfitted with a front headlight and rear reflector if you’re biking at night. Cycling after dark is statistically much more dangerous than cycling in the daylight, so it might be a good idea to postpone a nighttime bike ride for the next day, if you’re not sure. If you decide to bike at night, wear light-colored or reflective clothing.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Bike Accident
Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself involved in a bike accident. If so, don’t panic. Stay calm and get help. The police should be called so that a police report can be created, and paramedics should be called if medical treatment if necessary.
If you decide that you do not need medical treatment at the scene, it is a good idea to get treatment soon after—at least to have a healthcare provider give you a short checkup. Many large injuries start out as seemingly small ones. Medical care can prevent larger problems later. If you do decide to take legal action, lack of medical care can also be held against you. The other party may claim that your injuries could not be that severe because you did not need treatment when they occurred.
While at the scene of the bike accident, try to collect as much information as possible. You’ll need the name, address and insurance information of the other driver, as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses. It may also be a good idea to take pictures of the scene with your phone, just in case.
If you have any questions about your rights after a bike accident, it is always best to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney. The lawyer can answer questions and help you decide on the best course of action.