All posts by Dawn Keyser

Protect Yourself: Tips to avoid or handle a collision

In the wake of yet another tragic  collision resulting in the death of a person on a bike, we think it’s important for our friends who ride bikes to be aware of the actions they can take to not only reduce their risk of being a victim, but to respond appropriately in the event of a collision as well. We would like to thank Deanna Power of Personal Injury Help for contributing the following article. We are dedicating it to the memory of all the cyclists killed in NC this year.

What to do After a Crash in North Carolina

If you are a bicyclist, you are a member of a growing community that enjoys using an economical, healthy, and environmentally friendly way to get where you need to go. While there are things that you can do to reduce your odds of being in a crash, there is always a risk that is real. One way to lower your risk of being involved in a crash is by making sure you are being safe and that you are adhering to North Carolina’s bicycling laws.

North Carolina Bicycling Laws

In North Carolina, bicyclists are treated like drivers of vehicles. They are encouraged to act responsibly and safely, the same as drivers of cars are. There are laws that are specific to bicycles as well, and those must be adhered to:

  •         Your bicycle must be equipped with a lighted headlamp that is visible from at least 30 feet in front of the bicycle.
  •         Your bicycle should have a red reflective mirror or light on the back that is visible from at least 200 feet from the rear when used at night. You can also wear a reflective safety vest.
  •         A bicycle should be driven at a visible spot within the lane and before making a lateral move, the rider should yield.
  •         Properly position yourself for your destination at intersections.
  •         Use the proper hand signals so your movement will be predictable. Let drivers know that you are turning or stopping. Give them time to know where you are going.
  •         Bicyclists cannot overtake other traffic on the right except when they are traveling in a separately marked travel lane.
  •        As a vehicle by law, bicycles have the right to “take the lane”, especially if they feel it is necessary for their safety or in preparation to make a turn.  An example of taking the lane for safety reasons is to discourage cars from trying to pass too close to you in the same lane.

Increase Your Visibility

By making yourself more visible, you are more likely to be noticed by drivers and reduce the risk of a crash. Wear brightly colored clothing, such as a safety vest or an orange, yellow, bright green, or red jersey. Add bright colors and reflectors to your helmet (and be sure to always ride with a helmet!). You may even add reflective tape to your clothing and your bicycle if you are riding after dark. Make sure your bicycle has reflectors visible from all sides, to ensure that drivers are aware of your presence in the road. Remember, a front and back light are now both required by law in NC.

If You Have Been in a Crash

If you have been involved in a crash, here are some tips to make sure you are treated fairly throughout the insurance claims process and that your rights are protected. By making sure you have handled the situation properly, you are preparing your claim accurately and effectively.

  1.       The first thing to do is to call 911. You want the police to come complete a report. If your injuries are serious, ask for an ambulance to be dispatched as well.
  2.       Make sure the police take a statement from you and not just the motorist. Some police will only speak with motorists during an investigation.
  3.       Exchange information with the drivers. Get names, contact information, and insurance information from everyone involved.
  4.       Speak with witnesses and get their statements, names, and contact information.
  5.       Take photos of the scene. Show the street, your bicycle, damage to the vehicles involved, your damaged clothing and helmet, and any injuries that you may have.
  6.       Go to the hospital and get medical treatment no matter what. Your injuries may be worse than you initially believe, or adrenaline could be keeping you from feeling any injuries.

After the Crash

After the incident, you should maintain the recommended medical care. Any medical bills and records of lost work should be kept for your insurance claim. You need to keep in constant contact with the insurance companies to make sure that your claim is progressing. If the crash was not your fault, the insurance company should be liable for replacing any damaged goods and covering your medical bills. If the driver’s insurance company doesn’t pay for your medical bills for some reason, you can take the claim to North Carolina’s small claims court if you need less than $10,000 in compensation. With good documentation however, you won’t need to step foot in a courtroom.

After visiting a hospital and getting treated, you can focus on what’s most important: Recovering from the crash.

Want to get more involved? We’re seeking nominees to join our Board of Directors!

Oaks & Spokes will be electing five people to the Board of Directors, and you could be one of them! If you live or work in Raleigh, love bicycling, are a member of Oaks & Spokes, and want to be a decision-maker for Oaks & Spokes, apply here: https://goo.gl/forms/iFA2b0kMHxh2qMFk1

Applications are due on December 20th at 7pm. The current Board of Directors will notify all applicants of their candidacy on December 21st. Elections will be held at the Members Only Party on January 21st.

Not a member of Oaks & Spokes? Membership is only $25, lasts a year, gives you access to the Members Only Party, gives you voting power, and supports all of the work Oaks & Spokes is doing with events, outreach, education, and advocacy. Contact info@oaksandspokes.com to become a member today!

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Cranksgiving 2016 is this Sunday!

Join us this Sunday for our annual Food Drive Bike Ride, Cranksgiving! Last year more than 100 participants rode their bikes to area grocery stores to collect over 1400 lbs of food to donate to Raleigh Rescue Mission, more than double the amount collected in 2014. We hope you’ll come out this year to help us beat last years record. Find more information and RSVP on the event page.

This year we will also be collecting new or gently used winter coats to donate. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please send us an email at info@oaksandspokes.com.

 

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Musings from this years NC Bike Summit in Asheville

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On September 16th and 17th, over 100 bicycling advocates, practitioners, elected officials, and government staff from across the state gathered in Asheville for the fifth annual North Carolina Bike Summit, hosted by BikeWalk NC and Asheville on Bikes. The Bike Summit consisted of presentations, group rides, a panel discussion about political partnerships, and a reception at the New Belgium brewery. The presentations were centered around the Bike Summit’s theme, Pedaling Toward Economic Development, and the presenters collectively:

  • made the case that bicycling is good for the economy,
  • emphasized the need for increased and sustainable funding for bicycle infrastructure, and
  • highlighted the role that local advocacy groups, e.g., Oaks & Spokes, can play in making communities more bikeable.

Our very own Evan Brigham, Kristy Jackson, Harry Rybacki, and Trung Vo attended the Bike Summit, and of particular interest to us were the discussions about tactical urbanism, marketing bicycling, and embracing diversity. Oaks & Spokes has big plans to leverage our inspiration from the Bike Summit to keep rolling towards a more bicycle-friendly Raleigh.

Also in attendance were Ally Clonch and Nate Seeskin, both students in UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning who applied for and were awarded Oaks & Spokes conference scholarships. They had this to say about their experiences:

“The NC Bike Summit was a multi-disciplinary gathering of all people with a passion for bike and pedestrian infrastructure: planners, engineers, and activists. I was thrilled to converse with professionals and enthusiasts from a wide range of communities and learn about the challenges and innovations happening across the state. One of the repeated themes of the summit was the importance of inclusive community engagement in order to gain support for societal and infrastructural developments; for instance, tactical urbanism is a relatively cheap and effective tool that bike/ped professionals can utilize to garner public interest in proposed projects. I was also able to learn more technical information about funding, grant procurement, and navigating the legal framework of infrastructure development from public sector professionals. All in all, the NC Bike Summit provided insight to the dynamic evolution of active transportation around the state and harbored collaboration between all types of people to plan for more bike-friendly communities state-wide!” – Ally Clonch

“I am very thankful that Oaks & Spokes sponsored my attendance at the North Carolina Bike Summit. As a new graduate student at UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning and as a newcomer to North Carolina, the NC Bike Summit was helpful in me gaining my bearings with both the planning and bicycle communities in this state. At this conference, I networked with a variety of planners, engineers, and advocates and learned about the bicycle policy and advocacy environment here. My favorite parts of the summit included hearing from Mike Lydon from the Street Plans Collaborative about tactical urbanism and participating in a breakout hosted by planners at the Wilmington MPO organization on prioritizing funding for bicycle infrastructure. I find it promising that there is a steady network of people advocating for better bicycle infrastructure here in North Carolina and I look forward to getting more involved!” – Nate Seeskin

Stay tuned to learn more about next year’s Bike Summit, Oaks & Spokes conference scholarships, and ways to get involved in bike advocacy!