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Bicycle safety tips from the NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a list of safety suggestions for cyclists in New York and throughout the country. Bikes should be inspected before riding, including the brakes and tires. People should also wear a properly fitted bike helmet. This can be critical in protecting cyclists from a serious head injury.

The bicycle should fit the rider and should be adjusted if necessary. Proper fit on a road bike means the person is just 1 to 2 inches from the top bar. On a mountain bike, it is 3 to 4 inches. The seat should be at a height that allows legs to bend slightly at the knee when they are fully extended.

Cyclists should make certain that they are visible. This could involve wearing brightly colored clothes, reflective tape or flashing lights depending on weather conditions. Riding at night should be avoided. Cyclists should stay in control of their bicycles by keeping at least one hand on the handlebars and carrying any items in a backpack or carrier. Cyclists should also watch out for road hazards ranging from potholes to leaves and dogs to puddles.

Even after following these safety rules, some cyclists may end up in a serious accident. Some of these accidents might happen because of a careless motorist. For example, a driver might open a door into the path of a cyclist or might turn at a light without noticing a cyclist. Cyclists may be particularly vulnerable to serious injury because they are not protected by a vehicle's exterior. If an accident occurs and another person is at fault, the cyclist might expect that medical expenses will be covered by the negligent party's insurance company. However, the company might offer very little money. Therefore, an injured cyclist might want to consult an attorney to see if filing a personal injury lawsuit would be appropriate.

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