Most Common Bicycle Accidents & Prevention Techniques
Bicycling is an increasingly popular form of transportation and exercise, especially in a big city like Chicago. Many people ride their bikes for fun or to relieve stress, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the safest option. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 857 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2018. As you can imagine, when a bicyclist collides with a moving vehicle, it is almost always the bicyclist that is in the most danger. Whether you are the one driving the vehicle or riding the bike, it’s important to know your rights and ways to prevent accidents before they happen. Keep reading to learn about the most common bicycle accidents along with the best prevention techniques and safety tips.
Common Bicycle/Vehicle Accidents
The most common bicycle accidents actually involve simply falling off your bike. But, the most serious accidents involve collisions with motor vehicles. This is what we are going to focus on in this article. Below are some common scenarios in which bicyclists and motorists collide:
- Intersections- intersections can be a tricky spot for both drivers and riders. Some riders fail to stop at designated stop signs and often times drivers aren’t used to looking for bikers. Remember that bicyclists should obey all traffic lights and signs just as cars should.
- Sideswipes- this often happens when cars unintentionally get too close to bicyclists in the bike lane.
- Dooring- when a driver or passenger opens their door without looking, bicyclists often can’t stop in time to avoid running into the door.
- Left Turns- cars sometimes take left turns across intersections without looking for bikes about to ride across the crosswalk. Bicyclists can also make unexpected left turns and get struck by the vehicle driving behind them.
- Right Turns- this happens when a car turns right and cuts off the bike lane in front of or into a bicyclist. It’s especially important to look for bicyclists when turning right at a red light.
- Driveways- vehicles and bicycles pulling out of driveways or alleys can often drive right into oncoming traffic if they’re not careful.
- Riding Towards Oncoming Traffic- this is when bicyclists are riding towards oncoming traffic. It is always recommended to ride with traffic not against it.
- Crosswalks- especially when sidewalks turn into crosswalks, bicyclists can easily ride into oncoming traffic without looking. It’s also up to the vehicle operator to look both ways for pedestrians and bicyclists.
As you can see, most of the accidents described above could be easily prevented if both driver and rider increased alertness on the road. Making an effort to look both ways at intersections and crosswalks can make a huge difference. In addition, there are more advanced prevention techniques that can be employed.
There are many ways to prevent bicycle accident deaths and injuries. Firstly, it’s important to remember that all states require bike riders to follow the same rules of the road as any other driver. Anytime you question what you should do when riding a bike, just think about what you would do if you were driving a car. According to the NHTSA, most bicycle deaths occur between 6pm and 9pm, with 75% taking place in urban areas. Let’s start with some of the most basic, yet important, tips that you have probably already heard.
- Always wear a helmet- according to a major Australian study, helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of serious head injury by almost 70%.
- Look both ways before crossing any street or intersection
- Wear reflective gear
- Obey street signs and signals
Along with these popular tips, the NHTSA also recommends more advanced prevention techniques for bicyclists:
- Wear a helmet that fits properly.
- Ride a bike that fits you and is in good working condition.
- Ride one per seat with both hands on the handlebars.
- Plan your route ahead of time.
- No texting and riding.
- Announce your presence when coming up behind pedestrians- verbally or by ringing a bell
Even if you are not a bicyclist, there are some tips for drivers to share the road safely:
- Always yield to bicyclists.
- Never underestimate a bicyclist’s speed.
- Give bicyclists room.
- Stop completely and look both ways at intersections and before turning right on red.
- Obey the speed limit and all traffic signals.
Clearly, there are endless ways that bicycle accidents can happen, and each accident is unique. Bicycle-vehicle accidents can result in devastating injuries that can cause short-term and long-term negative impacts on your life. Receiving prompt medical attention is always the first step after a bicycle accident. Secondly, you should consult a personal injury attorney to get the advice and assistance that you may need.
Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.
Riding a bike around the city can be an enjoyable and positive experience for all ages. But, even if you do follow all of the advice in this article, it is still very possible to find yourself in a bicycle-vehicle accident. Proving fault in a bicycle accident case may sound simple, but it is often a complex matter that requires the diligent work of an experienced law firm. Contact WG Law Group if you or a loved one are a victim of a bicycle-vehicle accident in the Chicago area.
Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd. works hard to get you the settlement you deserve. They offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything until you win a settlement. The experienced attorneys at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd. fight to secure your financial future. For more information on car accident lawsuits, call 312-334-6875 for the Whiteside & Goldberg Michigan Avenue location and 815-730-7535 for their Shorewood office. You should never battle a pedestrian accident case without an excellent attorney by your side.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.