Stay Safe on Two Wheels: Common Causes of Car vs. Bike Accidents and How You Can Prevent Them
Roads demand respect.
After all, they can be dangerous places. That’s especially true if you’re a cyclist.
For instance, in 2016, 840 cyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents in the US.
It’s easy to see how cyclists can be particularly vulnerable on the road. They have very little in the way of protection against the potential dangers present. Speed, metal, and tarmac combine against a helmet and pair of cycling shorts. In the battle of car versus bike, there’s only one winner.
Clearly, bike accidents happen and the damage can be serious. Knowing the causes of these incidents can help cyclists look out for the danger. But newbies to the bike may be unaware of the issues they’ll face.
Keep reading to discover exactly what causes bike accidents, and how to prevent them from happening to you.
Common Causes of Bike Accidents
Here are the main causes of accidents faced by cyclists.
‘Crossing’ occurs at intersections, when a car crosses into the path of the bicycle.
Imagine cycling happily down the road when a car leaves an intersection with you in the way. The car simply doesn’t see you, or thinks they have enough time, and enters the intersection.
It can be difficult to respond in time to avoid the crash.
You get rear-ended when a car bumps into you from behind.
A driver may not give you enough space. Getting too close to you means they lack the time to respond when you break. Likewise, they may not see you and simply accelerate into your rear-end.
Stop signs are a particularly common place this occurs.
Side swipes are possible every time you get overtaken by a car.
They want to pass but don’t leave enough room to do so. Passing too close to your left-hand side, they may connect with you as they pull back into the lane.
The likelihood of this happening is greater when you swerve left to avoid obstacles in your path.
Being swiped is also possible when you’re turning right at an intersection. You may have a car to your left, turning the same way. It’s unfortunately common for them not to see you as they commit to the turn.
Ever cycled down a lane with cars parked to your right?
Imagine someone opening their door without thinking, and you careening into it. That’s being doored, and it’s rarely a fun experience.
Keeping further left is a good idea. But that can increase your chance of being sideswiped.
Drugs and alcohol never combine well with roads.
The same goes for bike accidents. It doesn’t matter whether the driver or the cyclist is inebriated. The result is often the same: collisions, mistakes, and accidents.
Senses are dulled, reactions times are slowed, and decision making is impacted. As a cyclist, you should do yourself a favor and remain sober on the road at all times.
Being Too Fast
Speeding is another common issue on roads.
Again, the issue may be to do with the driver or the cyclist. However, it’s more often to do with the driver. Either way, inappropriate and excessive speed means less time to react to problem situations. A high-speed collision is often fatal for a cyclist.
Likewise, remember that cars go faster than you do. Stick to routes where your speed is appropriate for the situation. Highways are unlikely to ever be a good place to be.
Being Caught in Bad Weather
The weather also plays its part.
Rain, frost, sleet, and snow all make for less than ideal cycling conditions. Vision can be impaired, tires have less traction, and it’s harder to control the bike. Likewise, cars can face similar issues- skidding and sliding can happen unexpectedly.
Think of the sun too. The blinding of the sun at low levels can make it impossible to be as aware of cyclists, cars, and obstacles in general.
How to Prevent Bike Accidents
Now let’s turn to the ways in which you can protect yourself as a cyclist.
Cyclists should endeavor to make themselves as visible as possible.
Accidents usually happen when a driver simply doesn’t see a cyclist in their vicinity. High visibility clothing and front and rear lights are essential cyclist items.
Here’s more information on how to stay visible on the bike.
Vigilance is as important as visibility to the cyclist.
You must remain aware of your surroundings at all times. You can’t afford to rest on your laurels. Anything can happen, at any time, whether you’re cycling a route for the thousandth or the very first time.
We’ve discussed how being intoxicated can cause accidents on the road.
But this is just one example of how it pays to be sensible. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t speed. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Don’t jump the lights. Don’t turn unexpectedly…The list goes on.
You can’t control what goes on around you. But you can control your side of things. Give yourself the best chance of staying safe by making sensible decisions while cycling.
Keeping your distance is a crucial way to stay safe as a cyclist.
On the road that might mean keeping left to avoid being doored. It might mean maintaining a reasonable speed to stay ahead of the car behind you. That extra distance will give you more time to adjust to problem situations.
Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: the most common causes of bike accidents and how to prevent them.
Unfortunately, bike accidents happen, and when they do the results can be catastrophic. The life of a cyclist can often hang in the balance. It’s crucial that cyclists know the dangers to look out for on the road, as well as how to reduce the chance of having an accident.
Hopefully, the information above had provided everything you need to cycle safely!
Have you been unfortunate enough to be involved in a cycling accident? Are you looking for legal advice on how to move forward? Be sure to get in touch today to speak with an experienced Dallas bicycle accident attorney from The Benton Law Firm.