After two recent bicycle accidents in the news resulted in deaths, local bicycle enthusiasts are calling for more awareness of bike riders in the area.
West Virginia Provides Great Opportunities for Cyclists but also Dangers
There is nothing more than bicycle riders enjoy more than getting out during nice weather to enjoy bike cruising along the Van Voorhis Trailhead in Morgantown or the Allegheny Highland Trails leading to Elkins. But there is another side to biking in our area that is known to well by many riders: the impatient drivers that believe the road is only for cars and the distracted drivers that are so engrossed in themselves that they are not watching out for others, including bike riders that are attempting to share the road.
West Virginia law requires that vehicle drivers share roadways with bike riders, in fact in a few cities and towns dotted throughout the area, you will see signs and even bike lanes that proclaim as much. However, time and again we see the blatant disregard for the rules, many of those instances leading to injured bike riders.
As with many states, West Virginia can become a dangerous place for cyclists. Throughout the Spring, Summer and even Fall, West Virginia can be a beautiful place to ride your bike, with the wonderful scenery and the wildlife that comes with it. West Virginia roadways can also become an issue with the winding turns, rolling blind spots and even the rough road conditions.
How can we improve conditions for bicyclists in our region?
Many cyclists have organized groups to do just that. Bike Morgantown, was created to promote awareness of bicycling safety in the Morgantown area while providing a way to share information on cycle resources and events. They have also been an active participant in the creation of a Morgantown Monongalia Bicycle Plan which attempts to identify areas for improvement within the metro area of Morgantown for cyclists and their bikes. Mountain State Wheelers has done something similar, in that they organize bike rides to allow their members to participate in cycling with others with the same interests safely.
In addition to the creation of these groups to promote safe bicycling, it is also essential to bring awareness to the general public who may not be aware of the driving regulations that protect bicycles and their riders. A few rules that the general public may not be aware of include a recently passed law that requires drivers to give cyclists a "three feet" cushion when they are passing them on the roadway. Not only are drivers required to provide this added space, but they are also required to share the road itself. Cyclists are not required to ride as far to the right as possible and only encouraged to move over when a vehicle is approaching.
Drivers Can Help Prevent Bicycle Injuries
Drivers can further prevent issues with cyclists by making sure to yield to riders when turning left or entering the main roadway form a side street. Motorists should allow bicycle riders to clear intersections in front of them before they attempt to pass through themselves. A rule of thumb that is important in all situations is, and they will take every care to ensure that they share the road as well.
Bicycles and cars are meant to share the roadway; however as in any relationship there are some difficulties, it is up to both drivers and riders to ensure a safe and smooth passageway for all involved.
Bicycle Injury Lawyers Can Help Cyclists Who Haven Been Hit by Vehicles
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident and you have questions, it is crucial that you have the tools necessary to deal with the crash. It is our goal at The Miley Legal Group to get you back on your feet and back to "pre-accident" condition as quickly as possible.