If you’re a cyclist, you know that there are few better feelings than pedaling down the open road with the wind at your back. Cycling, at its best, can be exhilarating. Yet if you don’t practice smart safety protocols — or if motorists don’t remain attentive — cycling can also be quite dangerous.
To help you stay safe while cycling, we’ve compiled a list of the most common causes of cycling accidents, and a few key safety tips.
Motorists who don’t pay attention to their surroundings are one of the most significant dangers for cyclists. Federal data shows that nearly one-third of all cycling injuries — and an astounding three-fourths of all cycling fatalities — are caused by cars. Being struck by a car or truck that drifts into a bike lane, or being “doored” by the driver of a parked car, can both lead to devastating injury or death.
Cyclists are often at risk of being struck when drivers are making turns, or when drivers fail to stop and initiate a rear end collision. Rear end accidents are the most common type of bicycle accidents that can result in a rider’s death.
Bad Weather and Poor Road Conditions
Inclement weather or subpar road conditions are two more common causes of cycling accidents. Slick streets make it more difficult to negotiate turns and brake, and storms or fog can reduce cyclist visibility and raise the odds of a collision occurring.
Cyclists should also take pains to ensure that the roads, streets, sidewalks and paths on which they travel are even, well-maintained and not full of holes, loose pavement, obstructions etc.
Failure to Follow Traffic Rules
This applies to motorists and cyclists. Running lights or stop signs, failing to yield when necessary and other traffic violations pose significant risks. All conventional rules of the road need to be followed in order to protect cyclists. Once again, cyclists are especially vulnerable compared to drivers of vehicles, so it’s imperative that motorists give cyclists the benefit of the doubt at intersections and stop signs.
How to Avoid Being Injured
In order to minimize your chances of being hurt in a serious cycling collision, we urge you to consider the following safety tips:
- Always wear a helmet and reflective gear. Reflectors and lights make you more visible on the road and helmets protect you from serious head injuries.
- Make sure you use a rear bike light, as rear end accidents are the most frequent variety.
- Go with traffic flow and stay on the right when possible.
- Do not wear headphones or anything else that distracts.
- Use hand signals.
Finding the Right Bicycle Accident Attorney
Gary Brustin is an attorney and a life-long cyclist. He’s passionate about protecting the rights of those who have been injured in cycling accidents, and he specializes in cycling litigation.
If you’ve been hurt, contact us today for a consultation, and let us help you get started on the road to recovery.