Oakland Personal Injury Attorney, Ed Casey, offers drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians common sense reminders on staying safe and sane on the bay area's busy streets.

Share the roads for safety’s sake

In San Francisco alone, there are more than 490,000 registered vehicles– add Alameda and Contra Costa Counties and the number jumps to almost 2.8 million.  With over 7 million people in the Bay Area, many of whom walk or bike to work the need for drivers, pedestrians and bikers to share the roads safely is clear. Whether you’re driving down a highway, walking through city streets, or commuting to work on your bike, these tips will help you share the road safely. 

#1. Stay alert (that text can wait!)

For drivers, one of the most important safety tips to avoid collisions with bicyclists or pedestrians is to stay alert and avoid distractions.  This includes not using smartphones while driving (a practice that could result in fines under California law). Be particularly vigilant in places where there are lots of children, such as near schools, parks, and playgrounds.  Slow down in congested areas, and respect crosswalks. Because many accidents happen when backing out of a driveway or parking space, drivers should pay close attention in those areas to make sure that there are no cyclists, walkers or joggers approaching.  Finally, be aware of driving conditions, including rainy or overcast weather in the Bay Area, or even driving at night.  Many cyclists and pedestrians do not wear reflective clothing, which can make it harder to spot them in low light conditions. Watch carefully and reduce your speed to avoid accidents in these conditions.

#2. Follow the rules of the road

Cyclists can also take precautions to share the road safely to avoid collisions with cars or pedestrians.  This includes following traffic rules; simply because you can ride in between rows of cars at a light does not mean that you should. In fact, the California Vehicle Code requires bicyclists to follow the rules of the road when riding on a public street or highway.  Cyclists should also stay off the sidewalks; in Oakland, it is illegal to ride bikes over a certain size on sidewalks. Use hand signals, and practice basic bike safety, which includes wearing reflective clothing and a helmet. Following these tips can help reduce the risk of a serious accident. 

#3. Look both ways

For pedestrians, staying alert to the conditions around you is one of the most important factors in sharing the roads safely.  Look both ways before crossing the street, and use crosswalks whenever possible.  Avoid cutting between parked cars to enter a street.  Wear light-colored or reflective clothing when walking or running in the early morning or evening. Taking these steps can help you avoid collisions with cars or bikes, and will reduce your risk of injuries or fatalities. 

If you have been injured in an accident, an experienced Oakland personal injury attorney can help protect your legal rights and ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.  Your first line of defense is to take basic safety precautions and share the road safely.  But if you are injured in the Oakland area, the Law Offices of Edward C. Casey can help.  Contact our office today to set up a free initial consultation.