If you were to ask your physician for a list of low impact exercises you could engage in to get healthier, bicycling would probably be among their top ten. This is a great way to not only exercise, but to be able to spend time with all age members of your family. Unfortunately, in 2013, more than 700 people were killed while cycling in accidents that involved a motor vehicle. In addition to this, more than 48,000 more were injured. Many of these accidents included some common factors that could have possibly been avoided. Knowing these factors could possibly make this sport safer for you and those you love.
Choose Where You Ride
It probably does not come as a surprise, that 68% of those killed were riding in urban areas, as opposed to rural areas. But surprisingly, the majority of those fatalities, or approximately 57% occurred at non-intersection locations. Some common causes of these include:
- Drivers striking riders while backing out of, or turning into driveways
- Cyclist riding into the path of the motor vehicle
- Cyclist riding on the wrong side of the road, or against oncoming traffic
- Children, or other riders darting out of driveway, from in between parked cars, or other locations difficult for the motorist to see
- Drivers and cyclist failing to obey signage, and other rules of the road
If you are able to choose the location you ride in, choose a location that is open, or free from traffic. Look for bike parks, or trails within your city, that will provide safe and secure environments to ride in.
If you must ride in an urban area, take precautions which will ensure you are able to see, as well as be seen by motorists. Although your instinct may be to ride on the far right of the road, this often makes it more difficult for motorist to see you. It can also give the motorist a false sense of security that they will be able to pass you without changing lanes.
Always ride with the flow of traffic, and do not allow traffic to intimidate you. Occupy the whole lane when it is appropriate. If you are going to share a lane, be careful about riding in driver's blind spots which are often located directly behind the driver and can run from the drivers door all the way past the rear of their vehicle.
Look Out For Car Doors
Another common cause of bicycle accidents that indirectly involve a motor vehicle involve the bicyclist being struck by motorists who are exiting vehicles. This is caused by bicyclists who ride too far to the right of a lane, or ride in the door zone. This is the space in which you will be at risk of being struck, or knocked off of your bicycle when drivers open their car doors. The width of the door zone varies based on the model and size of the vehicle.
Unfortunately, many bike lanes will put you into this zone. When possible, ride further left, or in the lane of traffic where you are easier to see. This will not only make it safer for other motorist to see you, but it will make it easier for you to be able to see the other motorists.
Make Sure You Can Hear
It may be tempting to put your ear buds in and tune out the world, or sync your wireless headset and have a conversation while you ride; unfortunately, neither of these activities are safe. These activities will cause you to lose your ability to hear anything going on around you, including traffic approaching from behind. To minimize your risk of having an accident, always ensure you are able to look, as well as listen for any problems.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a cycling accident, or you simply have questions regarding a cycling accident, contact a personal injury attorney. They will be glad to review your case, and give you advice on the next steps you should take.