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| Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

As vacation time along the Outer Banks fast approaches and the spring weather starts warming up it’s a good time to think cycling safety. A favorite recreational past-time is enjoying a fun bike ride on the many bicycle routes and paths that can be found along the 158 By-Pass in the towns of Kitty Hawk, Nags Head and Kill Devil and Manteo, North Carolina (NC). Bike shops are getting busy as folks bring in their bikes for tune-ups or trade ups. For everyone out there on the road, it’s time to tune in to bike safety.

Every year, there are more than 900 North Carolina (NC) bicyclists involved in crashes with cars and trucks; and that’s just the ones that are reported to the police. Out of the 900 accidents, more than 60 of those result in a serious injury to the rider. From the 60 serious cycling injuries due to crashes with motor vehicles, 20 were fatal.

If you’ve driven around town it probably won’t surprise you that most accidents are attributable to riders and drivers not paying attention to the rules of the road. Of all the cycling errors the most common include passing stopped vehicles at stop signs and traffic lights, riding through red lights or stop signs, and not using hand signals. To further heighten the element of danger car drivers often refuse to make way for cyclists and fail to heed bikers before turning.

Keep yourself safe and enjoy your bicycle ride. Make sure you always ride defensively. You must never assume a motorist knows the law and the right of way. Make sure you obey signs and signals, yielding to avoid “near misses,” exercise care at intersections, signaling your intentions and avoiding distractions.

In today’s high-tech world, one safety issue on bicycles is playing the mp3 or ipod music at too high of a volume while bicycling. Although a ride might be more entertaining with your favorite podcast or workout music, it’s also a lot more dangerous. Giving up the ability to hear an approaching car is a big disadvantage. If you do use a music player, set the volume at a leval that still allows you to hear any significant noises. Also, if you’re riding with friends, try to avoid the pack mentality. While it may be true that riding single file is not as fun or conversational, it will dramatically improve your odds of not being the next statistic. It is important to keep a reasonable distance between cycles, and to always keep focused on the approaching terrain, and not just the bicycle ahead of you

Lastly, and most important, let’s talk about helmets. Only 25% of North Carolina cyclists wear helmets, but that uncomfortable and unfashionable headgear can save your life. The North Carolina Department of Transportation estimates that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of traumatic brain injury by as much as 88 percent. So, be sure to wear the bicycle helmet properly, fitting it securely on your head and resting it one or two fingers over your eyebrows, pulling the chin strap tight. Bike safety is not the sexiest thing to talk about, and it is not something we tend to think about every day, but, it is priority one for bicycle safety.

Our injury law firm maintains a NE NC office in Elizabeth City, and our main law office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Four of our law firm’s injury lawyers are licensed to practice law in North Carolina, Virginia, and beyond. For over a decade we have been helping North Carolina residents, and those suffering injuries or wrongful death in NC. We have represented a number of bicyclists injured in accidents with cars, and know how to maximize the compensation payable due to negligence of the responsible driver.

Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia, with offices in northeast NC and Virginia Beach (VA), practicing primarily in the southeastern U.S. and handles only injury law, including car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. The firm’s website is:, the firm edits three injury law blogs: Virginia Beach Injuryboard & Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard and also hosts a video library covering many FAQ’s on personal injury subjects.

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