Even though New York is at a standstill with the current covid-19 pandemic, many who are now at home are finding ways to pass the time. In fact, the streets in Long Island neighborhoods have pedestrians, runners and bicyclists getting fresh air, six feet apart of course. While traffic and highways are virtually empty, the more local streets and neighborhoods still have cars driving around, likely running errands for their family. Suffolk County especially has more unpredictable roads, so there is still a threat of getting into an accident and potentially getting injured. Therefore, if you fall under the category of someone who is going out during the pandemic, here are some safety tips to avoid injury.
Do not forget or undermine the reasons we are all at home right now. We recently wrote a blog about why social distancing is so important, and the more we all do our part to cooperate, the sooner this will all be over. So if you are riding a bike, stay as far away from pedestrians as possible. Although six feet apart is the recommendation, don’t hesitate to increase that distance as much as possible. If you are riding a bike and you see someone walking their dog down the street, if it is safe to do so, maybe consider moving to the other side of the street so as to keep a safe distance. Avoid touching any surfaces and avoid touching your face.
If you are riding your bike around the neighborhood, you must still be aware and drive defensively as you will still likely be sharing the road with other drivers. When riding a bike, make yourself as predictable as possible to drivers. Ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road and do not weave in and out of parked vehicles. Avoid wearing headphones as you do not want to lose your ability to hear other vehicles approaching. Always slow down and check for traffic when approaching an intersection.
If at all possible avoid busy commercial roads like Jericho Turnpike or Middle Country Rd as even now they can still be chaotic and not safe for bicyclists. Finally, when you are sharing the road with other motorists, assume that they do not know how to yield to a bicyclist. Even in situations where you have the right away, continue to drive defensively.
Just because there is less traffic does not mean you should not drive as defensively. In fact, with there being less traffic, there is no rush, and you can take the time to dive safely. It is still important to never use your cellphone while driving. Eliminate all distractions while you drive, so you do not get into a bicycle or pedestrian accident. Obey all traffic laws, and follow the speed limit. At parking lots and shopping centers, be extra careful as these are always the most unpredictable places to drive. Additionally, try to park as far away as possible from other cars, so as to practice social distancing.
If you are driving with a bicyclist, be extra careful if you need to pass them. Slow down at every crosswalk and bus stop, and drive slowly and carefully in residential areas, as pedestrians and bicyclists may be out and about and could unexpectedly cross the street.
We understand that at the time being, there is still a need for people to leave their homes. In addition to being cautious about the spread of the coronavirus, we also wish everyone practices defensive maneuvers in order to prevent injury.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.