According to some of the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 846 bicycle accident deaths in the US in 2019 alone. Even if you don’t live in one of the most dangerous states for cyclists, you still need to practice safe riding.
Protecting yourself begins with understanding the most common types of bicycle accidents and how to avoid them. Read on to discover what they are and learn key tips to avoid them.
1. Open Door Accidents
An open-door accident can occur when a driver or passenger opens the door in front of a cyclist. This can cause the cyclist to hit the door or swerve out of the way to avoid it, sometimes into the path of a moving car.
You can avoid open-door accidents by paying close attention to the vehicles around you. If you notice a parked car with passengers inside, simply give it a wider berth. Most people will look before opening their car door, but it’s best to play it safe.
If possible, consider riding your bike in a safer location. This isn’t always feasible, especially if you ride your bike on a daily commute, but it’s worth considering.
2. Right Hook
This collision is one of the most common types of car accidents involving cyclists. Similar to motorcycle accidents, inattentional blindness on a driver’s part can result in serious injuries to a cyclist. Inattentional blindness is the failure to notice a visible but unexpected object due to the fact their attention was elsewhere.
A right hook and left hook bicycle accident can occur due to inattentional blindness. Right hook bicycle accidents happen when a vehicle pulls out from the right side of a street or driveway, turning right and hits a cyclist, or a cyclist hits the car.
Not all drivers use their turn signal, but there are still steps you can take to avoid this type of accident. Try to stop slightly in front of vehicles in a right-turn lane, so they’re more likely to see you. Another tip is to always pass a car on the left-hand side since drivers aren’t expecting you to pass on the right.
3. Left Hook
Left-cross or left hook accidents happen when a vehicle coming from the opposite direction turns left into or in front of a cyclist. This can happen at an intersection when left-turning vehicles should yield. It’s sometimes difficult for drivers to see cyclists, more so than other vehicles.
To avoid a left hook accident, it’s important that you have the right type of bicycle safety equipment. Aside from the right type of helmet, you should also have a powerful bike light, especially when riding at night.
Bike lights allow you to see better and also let drivers see you more clearly on the road. You should have a powerful front and rear light and ensure they’re working. Making eye contact with the driver can also help prevent accidents. Convey your intention or learn their next step so you can both stay safer on the road.
Unfortunately, some vehicles will follow too closely behind bicycles. Drivers who tailgate instead of maintaining a safe distance between other vehicles and others that share the road often cause accidents.
Tailgating or tailgate driving is when a bicyclist or motorist follows too closely to the person in front of them. As a result, this does not leave enough distance should the vehicle stop suddenly and a collision ensues.
Motorists can hit cyclists even if they’re paying attention to the road. For instance, a cyclist may need to move left to avoid an obstacle or parked car, and a driver may be too close to them to stop in time.
Regardless of how a cyclist gets rear-ended, there are tips you can follow to avoid this type of accident. While you may feel pressured to speed up, cars and other vehicles can always move faster than you. Therefore, you should instead move off to the side of the road and allow them to pass you.
5. Getting Clipped
Riding on the road has its share of dangers, and even the safest cyclist can get clipped by drivers. Getting clipped is what happens when a bicycle rider shares the road with vehicles and a driver clips or hits you. Even going slowly, getting hit by a vehicle can cause serious injury accidents, such as brain and spine injuries.
Cyclists can get clipped for many reasons. Maybe there isn’t a bike lane, or they’re riding too close to traffic. Maybe vehicles are going too fast and not paying attention, which can sometimes happen in rideshare accidents when drivers are on tight timelines.
If you want to avoid getting clipped, use bike lanes when possible. Try to stay far away from traffic. Pay attention to the traffic around you and get off the road if you notice a vehicle too close behind. You also might want to wear reflective clothing and ensure you have bright front and rear lights on your bike. These safety tips help motorists to see you better.
6. Failure to Yield
Lastly, both pedestrian accidents and cyclist accidents can occur as a result of failing to yield. Cyclists need to yield at an intersection as well. Failure to yield or misjudge how fast a car is traveling can result in a traffic accident. Even if you have the right-of-way, always proceed with caution:
- Double-check your surroundings before crossing
- Make sure you have more than enough time to cross
- Try to ensure drivers see you before you cross by making eye contact
Practice These Tips to Prevent Bicycle Accidents
Sharing the road means being cautious and paying attention to the traffic around us. Follow these steps, and you can avoid bicycle accidents. If you were in a crash, it’s important to contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney. At Alpha Accident Lawyers, we will handle the entire injury claims process and make sure you get the help you deserve.
Whether you need assistance with bicycle accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death, or other automobile-related cases, contact us today. The consultation is free, and we’re available to assist 24/7.