The week provides a great opportunity to raise awareness among California bicyclists – as well as drivers – regarding bike safety. In conjunction with National Ride to Work Week, professional bike racers emphasized the need for safety after Lance Armstrong crashed in the Tour of California, causing him to drop out, and David Zabriskie, a bike/car collision survivor, won Stage 3 of the Tour from San Francisco to Monterey and took the overall lead.
Armstrong’s injuries include a large gash below his eye and a severe bruise.
Zabriskie’s injuries occurred several years ago, during a training ride.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 540,000 bicyclists end up in the emergency room after suffering bicycling accidents.
In 2003, Zabriskie was injured when a car turned suddenly in front of him. He was hospitalized with a shattered leg. After his accident, Zabriskie started “Yield to Life,” an organization dedicated to raising bike-safety issues, emphasizing drivers and cyclists sharing the road.
Zabriskie states that safety is really about using common-sense. Car drivers need to be more patient. Even a “tap” from a car can make a cyclist fall, shattering bones or causing substantial injuries, such as brain, back or head injuries.
At the same time, cyclists need to follow the rules. They need to wear protective gear and pay attention to the rules of the road.
Zabriskie also notes that too often cyclists and drivers are pitted against each other. Instead they need to work together. Drivers should remember that cyclists have a right to the road, and cyclist need to remember that just because they have a right to the road, they don’t own the road.
By respecting each other, both California bicyclists and car drivers can avoid accidents. As an avid cyclist and California bicycle accident attorney, I’ve seen first hand the horrible accidents that occur when bicycle and cars collide.
With a little common sense and courtesy, both cars and bikes can share the road and reduce the number of accidents on California roadways.