When a car and a bicyclist collide, the results are often devastating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 840 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016 alone. The roads are all too often unsafe for bike riders which are unfortunate considering bicyclists are supposed to have the same rights on the road as motor vehicles. Additionally, biking continues to increase in popularity. NHTSA reports a 64% increase in people biking to work from 2000 to 2012. There are several important safety measures that both motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists can take to try and keep everyone safe while sharing the road.
What are the Common Causes of Bike Accidents?
Some of the most common causes of bike accidents include motor vehicles:
- Failing to yield to a bicyclist at an intersection
- Passing too close to a bike
- Opening a car door in front of an oncoming bicyclists
- Following behind a bike too closely
- Driving into a bike lane
Things that can contribute to causing bike accidents include:
- Inclement weather conditions
- Low visibility
- Distracted driving
- Road conditions
- Lane width
- Clothing worn by the cyclist
- Road curvature
How Can We Keep Cyclists Safe?
If motorists and cyclists alike take strides to keep cyclists safe, we can make great strides in reducing the number of bike riders who are injured or even killed on the road. First and foremost, it is important to recognize that both motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road. Everyone should be following all traffic laws. This includes obeying all street signs and signals. It also includes obeying all road markings. Bikes must ride in marked bike lanes when present. When a bike lane is not present, bikes must travel with the flow of traffic.
Both drivers and cyclists should also avoid distractions when out on the road. Texting or other things that will take your attention of the road poses a threat to yourself and everyone else. Additionally, drinking and driving and drinking while driving should be avoided. The NHTSA reports that, in 2016, alcohol played a role in 29% of traffic crashes where either the cyclist or driver had a BAC of .08 or higher.
Bicyclists can take specific steps to keep themselves safe on the road, including:
- Using a bike that fits. Riding a bike that is too big for you makes it more difficult to control.
- Riding a bike that is in full working condition.
- Planning a bike route that uses roads with lighter traffic and slower speeds.
- Using safety equipment such as rearview mirrors, lights, reflective clothing, and a helmet.
Drivers, you can do your part too by:
- Yielding to bicyclists
- Being aware of and checking your blind spots
- Giving bicyclists space, especially when trying to pass them
Also, bicyclists and drivers should always drive defensively. Be focused and stay alert out there on the road.
We Fight for the Injured
When people act negligently out there on the road, they fail in their duty to try and keep others safe and free from injury. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, the law provides ways for you to seek compensation for your losses. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Hewitt & Salvatore are here to enforce this legal right to full and fair compensation. Contact us today.
Posted in: Accidents