A bicycle ride provides exercise as well as being recreational. Unfortunately, the percentage of highway deaths relating to non-vehicle occupants, including bicycle riders, has increased from 13% in 2003 to 17% in 2012. There are a number of causes that are common to bicycle accidents. This article will discuss some of the common causes of such accidents as well as how to avoid them.
It must be noted that when an accident happens between a vehicle and a bicycle it is the bicycle rider that is most likely to be injured, or, in worst case scenarios, killed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) [Bicycle Safety | NHTSA] in 2019 alone there were 846 bicyclists killed in traffic accidents. In addition, there were also 49,000 injuries sustained in 2012. If you have been injured as a result of a bicycle accident, ensure that you contact a Bakersfield bicycle accident attorney for legal advice and representation.
It is important to take note of common causes of bicycle accidents in order to avoid bicycle accidents, some of the common causes are:
- Distracted riding – This is similar to distracted driving, however, when a cyclist takes his mind and or eyes off the road in front of him, this may prove to be fatal. A large number of cyclists look down at their phones, music devices or other mobile devices while they ride. Others are confident enough to text, email, surf the web or do other activities on their mobile device while riding their bicycles. Such distractions can lead to accidents.
- Speeding – Generally, bicyclists do not ride as fast as cars do, however, that doesn’t mean that bicyclists are unable to ride as fast as possible. It is when a bicyclist chooses to speed that can lead to serious injuries and death when an accident occurs with motor vehicles. Further, other elements that increase the seriousness of injuries associated with an accident that occurs when a bicyclist is speeding are when the road and terrain are in bad condition, or when the weather conditions are also bad. Such factors must be taken into account when deciding a safe speed to use when riding.
- Too close for comfort – It is of the utmost importance that drivers leave a minimum of three feet between themselves and other vehicles. At least twenty states require motorists to give a three-foot space between their vehicles and a bicyclist when passing in the same lane. However, the bicyclists shouldn’t assume that vehicles will leave a lot of space for them, therefore, it is much safer for the cyclist to use a shoulder lane or sidewalk instead of riding their bike at the edge of the roadway. In addition, it is important that cyclists know which highways and freeways, as well as which sidewalks, do not allow cyclists on them.
- Road rules – In most states bicyclists are considered as vehicles, as a result, they are subject to the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles on the road. Therefore, they must obey traffic lights and stop signs and other road signals.
- Cars Don’t See You – it is unfortunate that people driving cars don’t always look out for bicycles, motorcycles or even pedestrians and can have big blind spots when it comes to bike riders. Use extreme caution, especially in intersections.