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Wearing a helmet and other ways to prevent bicycle accidents

More and more people in Connecticut are bicycling for their commutes, exercise or fun. Yet bicycle accidents accounted for 2.2 percent of all traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2016, most of which took place in urban areas and between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Due to this alarming figure, it's important for people to understand the basics of bicycle safety.

It all begins with wearing a helmet that fits well and meets the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The next step is to follow the rules for conduct on the road; all states have one, and the same rules apply for bicyclists and motorists.

Defensive driving is key. Bicyclists should travel with, not against, traffic and always assume that drivers don't see them. Distracting activities like calling and texting are out of the question. Bicyclists should also be predictable. That means signaling turns and not riding on sidewalks or other areas where drivers don't expect to find a bicyclist.

Before heading out, though, bicyclists will want to check for a few things. For example, their bicycles should have working brakes and not be too big. When riding during the day, it's best to wear bright clothes. At night, bicyclists should wear reflective clothing and equip their bicycle with a white front light and red rear light.

Bicyclists can be injured when they collide with a car, but the results are even worse when they are involved in trucking accidents. Bicyclists may be left with catastrophic injuries that require lifelong medical attention. If truckers are to blame, though, victims could file a claim against the trucking company and be covered for those medical expenses as well as lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress. A lawyer could negotiate on a victim's behalf for a reasonable settlement and assist with litigation as a last resort.

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