Summer is here, and you may be thinking of riding your bicycle. Some may be riding to work, to exercise, or even just ride for fun. However, nearly 1,000 bicyclists die in the United States every year, so it’s important to be aware of the causes of bicycle accidents.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Distracted driving is the number one cause of all types of accidents, including bicycle accidents. When we think of distracted driving, we immediately think of texting or talking on the phone, but these are not the only causes. Legally speaking, distracted driving is any activity that takes your mind, eyes, or ears off the road, such as applying makeup, eating, using social media, or just simply talking to someone in the back of the seat. While these tasks may seem harmless, they are considered negligent.
When drivers are driving over the speed limit, their decision-making and reaction times are reduced. Going over the speed limit is prone to cause severe or even fatal bicycle accidents, and even in quiet areas of the road, it can be hazardous for the cyclist.
Unsafe Lane Changes
A sudden lane change without paying attention to others passing by is hazardous. Especially bike lanes, which vehicles often pass through to turn.
Turning Without Looking
These accidents are common when turning right at a red light or when turning left with yield. When turning at a stop sign or red light, drivers must ensure that no pedestrians or bicycles are crossing the intersection.
Not Stopping at a Stop Sign or a Red Light
Running a red light or a stop sign can be easily avoided. When a driver ignores a stop sign or a light without stopping, they are more likely to hit someone.
Failing to Provide Enough Space
Everyone who’s on the road at one point has seen bicyclists riding on the side of the road and tried to avoid them by swinging around. But drivers who follow the bicyclist too closely and pass them within 3 feet are more likely to hit the bicyclist.
Striking from Behind and Failing to Yield
The majority of vehicles that hit cyclists are traveling in the same direction as the cyclist and when vehicles are passing by the cyclist, there can be tight space between you and the driver. If the driver is too close to you, they can accidentally strike you from behind.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence can result in serious injuries to the driver and to everyone on the road since excessive alcohol consumption significantly reduces the driver’s reaction time. Those who make the decision to drink and then get behind the wheel are responsible for the damage and injuries caused. Unfortunately, many bike-involved accidents are the result of driving under the influence.
Driver fatigue can happen to anyone, whether you had a long day at work, or went out late and didn’t get enough sleep, tiredness has an impact on the driver’s ability to react to what’s happening on the road. Therefore, driver fatigue increases the risk of serious accidents.
Being cautious and following the laws can help prevent bicycle accidents
Here Are Some Ways to Avoid Bicycle Accidents
Some accidents are unavoidable, but in many cases, there are ways you can take precautions to prevent accidents when riding a bicycle.
Use Rear Mirrors
You can install small rear mirrors to see vehicles approaching from behind.
Avoid Riding at Night
At night and in the early morning, visibility is diminished, making it harder for drivers to see cyclists on the road. If possible, avoid riding at night, it can reduce the risk of an accident.
Wear Bright Visible Clothing
Bicycles are much harder to see, especially because bikes are much smaller than vehicles. That is why it is important to make yourself as visible as possible, this includes wearing reflective clothing (especially if you ride at night) and installing lights onto your bike.
Obey the Rules of the Road
Bicyclists also should follow the rules of the road. Make sure to use hand signals to indicate which direction you are going and communicate effectively. You should adhere to road signs. Many bicyclists assume that they can ride against traffic or use the sidewalk, but it is wrong. As a bicyclist, you should ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as the traffic flow.
Use a Protective Helmet
When riding a bicycle, always wear a helmet no matter what. A helmet can reduce the risk of head and brain injuries. Just by wearing a helmet, can be the difference between an injury versus fatality.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident? Foley & Small Can Help
If you have been in a bicycle accident, it is important to speak to an attorney. At Foley & Small, we are experienced attorneys who have handled a variety of bicycle accident claims. Bicycle accidents can occur in a variety of ways causing serious injuries and fatal accidents, that’s why we are here for you.