Bike Lawyer gives helpful tips on bike safety for Philadelphia bicyclists

“We talk to bicycle drivers,” Leon said. “We should really be talking to drivers.”

Stuart Leon, a Philadelphia lawyer who specializes in bicycle crashes, hosted a bike safety meeting at Performance Bicycle in Pennsport last Wednesday night, where he gave tips on bicycle safety.

“We talk to bicycle drivers,” Leon said. “We should really be talking to drivers.”

That’s because there’s a number of laws, Leon said, that pertain more to drivers than bicyclists. But it’s still helpful for bicyclists to know them too.

For instance, according to Leon, when drivers pass bicyclists on the road, they must allow four feet of clearance between the car and the bicyclist. If you’re driving on a two-way street, the laws stipulates that drivers can even swerve into the opposite lane to give a bicyclist the necessary four feet of clearance. Additionally, Leon said, the law states “you can’t turn in such a manner that you interfere with a bicycle rider,” including right turns at intersections, where it’s all too common for bicyclists to get turned into by cars. Unfortunately, he told the attendees of the meeting that drivers often don’t use turn signals, which can often prevent such accidents from occuring.

If a collision occurs between a bicyclist and a car, Leon said to make sure to get the car’s license plate number and a cell phone if possible.

“The ambulance guys, the EMTs — it’s not part of their job description to write a police report or investigate the crash,” he said.

If bicyclists have issues with businesses around the city placing signs in bike lanes, Leon suggests reporting it to 311 or talking to a city councilman.

“You’re allowed in the door and they’ll talk to you about it,” he said. “And they seem willing to do something about it or at least talk about doing something about it.”

Leon frequently handles cases regarding bicycle injuries related to trolley tracks, getting “doored” by people exiting their vehicles and bicycle injuries caused by ditches and holes in streets.

For more information about Stuart Leon and his practice, visit his website.