Senior Drivers at Risk of Accidents near Intersections

Intersections pose a serious safety challenge for bicycles, and many accidents every year occur near California intersections. A study studies indicates that many senior drivers find it difficult to navigate safely around an intersection.

Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently found that many older motorists struggle with driving safely around an intersection. It is not as if senior drivers are not looking out for accident risks, when they are at an intersection. The problem is that they do not always see accident risks, and that increases the risks of an accident involving another vehicle.

Earlier studies have also indicated that senior drivers have a much higher risk of accidents involving angle, overtaking, merging and intersection accidents. They are especially more likely to be involved in accidents involving left turns. The new study focused on a national database of accidents, and examined factors involved in accidents involving drivers above the age of 70.

The researchers found in their study that senior drivers are at risk of making errors that are very different from the errors made by middle-aged drivers. Among older drivers, must driving safety challenges seem to involve inadequate surveillance, which constituted approximately 33% of the errors. Seniors are also much less likely to inaccurately judge the gap between vehicles, or to accurately judge another vehicle’s speed. They also often fail to obey traffic controls, and are also at a higher risk for medical events or daydreaming. In as many as 70 percent of the accidents, drivers were looking out for another vehicle, but did not see the vehicle. Middle-age drivers, on the other hand, were not likely to look for another vehicle at all.

If you were involved in a bicycle accident, speak to a California bicycle accident attorney for help filing a claim for compensation.

Bill Would Mandate Bicycle Helmets

A new bill that has been introduced by a California state senator would make it illegal to ride a bicycle without wearing a helmet in California. The bill would require that all adult bicycle riders in California wear helmets. Any violations would result in citations and fines of up to $25.

Bill 192 is currently modeled on other laws in California that require persons under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. However, California does not mandate bicycle helmets for adult users. The bill would target that deficiency, and require that all adult bicyclists wear helmets while riding.

The number of injuries and fatalities in bicycle accidents is on the increase around the country. In 2009, 91% of the bicyclists who were killed in accidents were not wearing helmets at the time. Failure to wear a bicycle helmet while riding could cost a bicyclist up to $25 in fines.

Any California bicycle accident attorney would recommend that bicyclists wear helmets while riding, simply because it reduces the risk of suffering serious head injuries in an accident. However, many critics believe that bicycle helmets don’t necessarily keep bicyclists safer, or prevent the risk of accidents. In fact, they point to other bodies of research that indicate that motorists get a false sense of security when bicyclists wear helmets. That immediately places the bicyclists at risk of harm.

In other words, motorists may be more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors around a cyclist, if they believe that a bicyclist is safe from serious head injuries in an accident. In fact, one study conducted in the United Kingdom that whenever motorists were driving around a bicyclist wearing a helmet, they drove as much as three inches closer to these bicyclists, increasing the risk of an accident.