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    Personal Insurance Blog

    Bike Safety

    Posted by Nate Gordon

    Sat, Nov 10, 2012 @ 11:16 AM

    It’s important to remain safe when you are out on the streets, regardless of how you travel.  Cycling is a great way to let off steam and get around more cleanly than driving a car.  Unfortunately, having to share the road is a simple reality that drivers, pedestrians, and especially cyclists have to get used to. These are some of the key elements you have to keep in mind when you are out on a bike if you want make it home safe.

    Bike safely with a helmet tips and personal from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell ma

    1. Wear a Helmet

    This one seems obvious, but there are plenty of people who forgo the helmet every time they go out. It’s the sort of thing people like to write off as being for small children, and while they have an especially high incident rate, I really can’t stress enough just how important it is for people of all ages out on the road to wear a helmet. There are constant opportunities for a crash, and the difference between an unpleasant jostling and a trip to the hospital can be as simple as remembering to strap on your helmet.

    2. Hand turn signals

    Easily the biggest threat to road cyclists is the cars you have to share the road with. Turning signals are the same that you would use in a car when your tail lights aren’t working: signal with your left hand as you continue to steer with your right. Before making a left turn, extend your left arm out straight. When you make a right turn, hold your left arm up, elbow at a right angle.  When you are about to stop, hold your left arm pointed down to the ground.

    3. Stay Visible!

    This is one that, again, can come off as pretty obvious, but there are so many ways that people forget to make themselves visible to people in cars. Make sure that whatever you’re wearing has relatively bright colors on it at the very least, even if you are out in the middle of the day.

    Further, you should do your best to avoid going out after dark. Motorists have a hard enough time seeing other cars at night, and they have big lights on them to warn each other. When you really can’t avoid biking late, you have to dress accordingly. At this point, wearing bright colors just isn’t enough; you have to make sure to wear a reflective strip, or get a blinker installed on your bike. But again, the safest option is just to restrict your biking activity to daylight.

    4. Stay in the Bike Lane (or, Failing that, remember to stay in Traffic)

    Lower personal risk on your bicycle and stay safe with andrew gordon inc insurance norwell ma

    When you live in a town or city that has a bike lane, it is the cyclist’s responsibility to honor that designation and ride exclusively in that lane. This keeps you safe from cars that have no reason to be passing through that lane, and also frees up traffic so that the motorists don’t have to worry about you going in their lane. 

    However, it is important to note that most rural towns do not have such a lane designated just for bicycles.  If you are in such a town, it is a common mistake to treat the road shoulder as a sort of bike lane.  This is actually significantly less safe than riding right on the road.  The shoulder does not give as much space as a bike needs, so you can still get side swiped by a car whose driver didn’t see you. Biking more in the standard road makes one more visible to motorists coming up behind you and allows you to avoid the potholes and crumbling asphalt you can find on a shoulder.

    So, always stay visible, ride where you’re safest, and always, always wear a helmet.  Despite the scary picture this might paint for road biking, it really is one of the best ways to stay in shape and enjoy the fresh air. 

    For more of our personal blogs, where we discuss everything from safety issues to recipes, click here. Don't hesitate to contact us with an insurance question. Learn about personal insurance here. 

      INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Nate Gordon

    Tags: risk, management, safety, biking, visibility, tips, traffic, helmet, bike, bicycle, signals, turn

    Are Your Turn Signals On?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Sat, Oct 06, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

    Massachusetts is infamous for having drivers that do not use their turn signals while on the road. This lack of blinker use creates more problems than you might think.

    Prevent automobile collisions by using your vehicle signals and with auto from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maIn fact, a shocking study by the Society of Automotive Engineers shows that one in every four turns is made without using a signal. The result? Two million collisions each year. Therefore, accidents caused by failure to use a blinker occur more than twice as often as accidents caused by distracted driving. (Distracted driving causes about 950,000 collisions per year.)

    Turn signals are important because they act as a form of communication. Other drivers cannot predict which way you are going, and you cannot predict their moves either.

    Whenever you use a blinker, you should always provide an ample amount of time for the other drivers to recognize your message. Use your blinker at least 100 feet before you make the turn (the distance between two electric poles is approximately 50 ft).

    When should I use a blinker?

    It's your responsibility to signal turns, even if your blinker breaks. Here’s what the law says:

    “Every person operating a motor vehicle, before stopping said vehicle or making any turning movement which would affect the operation of any other vehicle, shall give a plainly visible signal by activating the brake lights or directional lights or signal as provided on said vehicle; and in the event electrical or mechanical signals are not operating or not provided on the vehicle, a plainly visible signal by means of the hand and arm shall be made. Hand and arm signals shall be made as follows:—

    1. An intention to turn to the left shall be indicated by hand and arm extended horizontally.

    2. An intention to turn to the right shall be indicated by hand and arm extended upward.

    3. An intention to stop or decrease speed shall be indicated by hand and arm extended downward.

    Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars for each offense. “

    In plainer English, you should always use a blinker. For more specific situations, see below.Drive safely and warn other drivers with blinkers and auto insurance from andrew gordon inc norwell ma

    1. Making turns. Whether it’s a side road, a driveway, a fast food drive-thru, you need to let other drivers know where you're heading. Whenever you make a turn, your car will be slowing down and the cars behind you have to be aware that your speed will be changing prior to the turn.
    2. Switching lanes. You should always use a turn signal to indicate change of lane. Remember, there might be a driver right in your blind spot.
    3. Intersections and traffic lights. At all intersections, use the signal to show in which direction you intend to proceed. At intersections with traffic lights and traffic lanes (i.e. “left turn only” lanes), continue to use your turn signal. Other drivers behind you may have their vision blocked and are unable to identify the specificity of the traffic lanes.

    Using a turn signal doesn’t take away from any of the driving experience. All it does is create a safer environment for all drivers, including yourself.

    If you have any questions about insurance, feel free to contact us. Learn more about auto insurance here.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Tags: auto, safety, law, prevention, ma, driving, accidents, blinker, signals, SAE, distracted, turn

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