Whether cycling for fitness, recreation, or just to get to work, thousands of people take to our roadways and sidewalks every day with their bicycles. When riding, the law affords these cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motorized passenger vehicles, and our lawyers encourage all road users to respect each other in order to facilitate a transportation environment that is safer for all of us.
Still, if we are to increase bicycle safety in Illinois and the rest of the United States, we can’t pretend that cyclists and passenger vehicles are one in the same. Cyclists are far less visible, far less protected, and far more susceptible to serious traumatic injury than their motor vehicle counterparts. Because of these differences, it is especially important for bicyclists to take an active role in keeping themselves safe and our attorneys have come up with a few tips aimed at doing just that. Below is information on five of the most common types of bicycle accidents, and tips on how they can be avoided:
The Left Cross-This occurs when a motorist fails to see a cyclist at an intersection and makes a left turn, striking the cyclist on their left side. According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) this type of accident accounts for nearly one half of all bike-car collisions. If you see a vehicle turning into your path when riding, turn right into the lane with the vehicle. This will reduce the impact of the crash, and may provide the car with a bit more stopping distance to reduce their speed and take evasive action.
The Right Hook-This occurs when a motorist passes a cyclist on the left hand side and turns right, crossing into the bike’s path in the process. As a cyclist, always remember that passing a slow-moving car on the right puts you within the driver’s blind spot. Avoid passing a vehicle on the right side when close to intersections, and never assume a driver sees you.
Being ‘Doored’-This is a term used to refer to a cyclist accident caused be a sudden opened door. Usually this occurs when traveling on the sidewalk or road next to a line of parallel parked cars. The best way to protect yourself here is to always be looking several cars ahead of you. If possible always ride your bike at least a doors length (3 feet or so) from parked cars.
Parking Lot/Driveway Collisions-Often times, motorists that exit driveways or parking lots are blocked from seeing cars around the corner. If they are unable to see a motor vehicle, odds are they will also miss a person on their bike. Always stop at sidewalks and areas with limited visibility to check if it’s safe to cross, and keep in mind that drivers scan roadways at intersections but often forget to look for cyclists approaching on the sidewalk.
Overtaking Crashes-Simply put, this is when a motorist hits a bicyclist from behind, usually at night or because of low visibility. The best thing you can do to prevent this type of accident is make yourself as visible as possible at all times, and ride in a way that is predictable. Avoid riding at night or at dusk, and wear bright or reflective clothing to get a driver’s attention. (Bicycling; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Our lawyers have helped bicycle accident victims, and we know how debilitating these injuries can be. If you have been the victim of a bicycle accident, you need a legal team that will get results, and will put your needs and wellbeing first. If you have questions, or believe you may have a case, call us now to see what we can do for you.