first person perspective of road bike riding down the street during sunset in Vermont
Drew Palcsik Esq.

Drew Palcsik Esq.

Personal injury & accident lawyer with offices located in Middlebury, VT and Plattsburgh, NY

Champlain Valley Bike Accident Prevention Guide

bicycle in the middle of compacted trail in the adirondack state park

Champlain Valley Bike Accident Prevention Guide

Riding a bike is the perfect way to get some exercise, destress, and enjoy the outdoors. Especially when you can ride in Vermont’s Green Mountains, or New York’s Adirondack Mountains, which are second to none. The breathtaking scenes of the mountainscapes, forests, rivers, ponds, and wildlife are an excellent way to unwind. However, bike accidents can happen anywhere. If you ride alongside motor vehicles, you need to take precautions while you ride.

Bike Laws in Vermont and New York

It is important for cyclists to know the rules of the road before they go out to ride. As a smaller road user you need to know how to ride your bike around motor vehicles. Local and state laws can help you understand where you should ride if there is no bike path, how to signal, and if you can ride two abreast. Here are links you can use to find the most up to date laws in VT or NY

6 tips to prevent bike accidents

1. Wear Bright & Reflective Clothing

Many of the tips you find in this list are intended to prevent specific types of bike accidents, but this tip can reduce your risk in almost all scenarios. Drivers who cannot see you may turn in front of you, rear-end you, or hit you while making a left turn at an intersection.

In addition to wearing bright clothing and a reflective vest, you should fit a headlight on the front of your bike and install reflectors on the spokes and rear. You should also add reflective tape to the back, front, and sides of your helmet to increase your visibility.

2. Avoid Riding Between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 1 in 5 fatal bicycle accidents happen between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. There are many reasons for this statistic including reduced visibility and an increase in the number of vehicles and bicycles on the road.

Where to ride in Vermont

Vermont has a fantastic cycling infrastructure to make it easier for people to ditch their cars and get on their bikes. If you love road riding or riding on a path, you can find miles upon miles of trails for your next trip. 

Newer riders can take the Vermont Rail Trail and bike paths. More experienced riders can test their endurance on Lincoln Gap, the steepest continuous mile in the United States. To find a trail that is best for you and your needs, you can use Local Motion’s trailfinder

If you want a list of the best mountain biking trails, look no further than Singletracks.com’s list trails and ratings.

Where to ride in New York

There are a lot of excellent places to ride in the Adirondack region. If you are living in or visiting Lake Placid, you will notice many cyclists training for the Ironman Triathlon as well as families on a casual weekend tour of the town.

If you are interested in road riding, you can find different pathways and bywaysOne of the most prominent bike paths you can follow in the North Country is the Empire State Trail, which connects Plattsburgh to New York City.

If you’re interested in mountain biking, you can travel to Tupper Lake and bike around Titus Mountain and even take the Adirondack Trail to Malone.

3. Keep Your Distance from Aggressive Drivers

Watch out for drivers who are speeding, swerving, making haphazard lane changes, or otherwise behaving erratically. Pull off the road until the driver passes if necessary.

4. Make Eye Contact at Four-Way Stop Streets

Most bike accidents happen at intersections where bicycles become invisible. When you’re at a four-way stop street, do not proceed until you have made eye contact with the driver on the intersecting road. If that motorist is texting or inattentive, he or she might stop for only a moment before driving through the intersection.

child riding bike down a green hill on a sunny blue day

5. Ride 4 Feet Away from Parked Vehicles

Bicycle riders tend to be more afraid of moving vehicles than parked cars, but a door that opens unexpectedly in front of you can cause devastating injuries. To reduce your risk, ride at least 4 feet away from parked vehicles.

road bar handlebars in foreground and vermont's green mountains in the background

6. Do Not Ride on the Sidewalk

It might seem safer to ride on the sidewalk since you’ll be farther away from traffic, but this actually increases your chances of being involved in an accident. The reason: If the sidewalk ends at an intersecting road and you continue across, you might get hit by a driver turning left from the opposite side of the road who didn’t expect to see you appear from the sidewalk.

Already Injured in a Bike Accident? Contact Drew Palcsik at Champlain Valley Law

If you were hurt in a bicycle crash despite obeying all traffic laws, you might have grounds for a personal injury claim. Attorney Drew Palcsik can evaluate your case and help you understand your rights.

The at-fault driver or another party may be liable for your lost income, medical bills, and other damages. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (802)231-3377 in Vermont and (518) 549-6063 in New York  or send us a message online. We have offices in Middlebury, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York.

Share this post