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Safety tips for Minnesota cyclists

Cyclists are extremely vulnerable on the roads of Minnesota, and their safety is largely dependent on drivers remaining alert and obeying the state's traffic laws. They can be killed or catastrophically injured in a collision with a car, truck or sports utility vehicle, but there are a number of steps that cyclists can take that could reduce their chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Wearing a sturdy helmet is an obvious, but tragically often overlooked, important first safety step for cyclists. Modern helmets are lightweight and deceptively robust, and they could mean the difference between a cyclist being shaken up and suffering a traumatic brain injury. Another common sense approach for cyclists hoping to avoid a crash is to remain aware of traffic conditions and adjust their riding style accordingly. Cyclists should also use hand signals and wear bright clothing to increase their chances of being seen by drivers.

Ensuring that safety equipment such as lights and brakes are in good working order could help to avoid or reduce the severity of a biking accident, and cyclists should also remember that car and truck drivers have sometimes large blind spots that should be avoided whenever possible. Large commercial vehicles are unwieldy and make wide turns, and accidents may be avoided if cyclists remain aware of this as they ride in heavy traffic.

Cyclists involved in an accident are often accused of acting recklessly and disobeying traffic laws. While such allegations often lack merit, personal injury attorneys may sometimes seek compensation for cyclists injured in a crash even if they did act negligently. Minnesota law allows accident victims to recover some damages as plaintiffs in a lawsuit as long as their negligence was not greater than that of the defendant .

Source: The Office of the Revisor of Statutes, "2015 Minnesota Statutes", Aaron Kinney, accessed on Dec. 8, 2015

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