After a harsh and blustery Colorado winter has left you stuck inside more often than not, as a bicycling enthusiast, you likely cannot wait to get out and stretch your legs once the snow melts and the temperatures routinely stay above freezing. Even a sunny afternoon when the snow hasn’t melted may be enough to lure you out for your first real ride of the year.
Few things can be as refreshing as that first spring bicycle ride after a winter stuck inside. Unfortunately, the earlier in the season you get out to stretch your legs and get back in the saddle, the less likely it will be that people in enclosed motor vehicles realize they should watch for you while driving.
You need to be especially careful during transitional seasons as a cyclist, just like you probably already try to be especially careful during transitional times of day for a similar reason.
People in motor vehicles often drive while distracted or inattentive
People driving on the road, particularly in exceptionally large vehicles, may have a false sense of confidence because they don’t worry about getting hurt if they get into a crash. They may not even stop to think about how their questionable driving habits could impact someone else.
A substantial number of people will daydream at the wheel, look down at their phone or otherwise focus on something other than the road and safety. When a driver strikes a cyclist or a pedestrian, the excuse they almost always give is that they simply didn’t see the cyclist or pedestrian, all too often because they weren’t really focused on safely managing their vehicle.
Failing to pay attention likely contributes more to a driver’s failure to notice a cyclist than a lack of visibility on the part of the cyclist. Still, realizing that fewer drivers will think of cyclists sharing the road with them during the early spring can help you take additional steps to be as visible as possible, including wearing all of your reflective gear or putting lights on your bike to draw the eye of drivers nearby.
Cyclists who get struck by vehicles often incur catastrophic injuries
As a cycling hobbyist, you probably already have specialized safety gear to make riding safer and easier on your body. The right protective gear, including a new, properly fitted helmet, can do a lot to limit the injuries you suffer in the event of a collision.
However, there is little question that a bike and protective clothing can’t offset the force exerted by a moving vehicle on a cyclist. Broken bones, spinal cord injuries and brain injuries are all possible in collisions where a passenger vehicle strikes a cyclist. Those injuries could be life-changing for the victim and necessitate taking legal action against the driver who failed to pay attention to the road.