Spring is here, and bicycle season is in full swing. Not only is biking a cardiovascular workout, but you get to breathe in the full grandeur of the world around you and gain a new perspective. When you’re riding the roadways, you need to pay close attention to motorists, pedestrians and the flow of traffic. In addition, you need to be familiar with the current laws and responsibilities.
Most riders are sharply focused, but many drivers are preoccupied, distracted and not looking for bicyclists on the road. Thus, you need to recognize the telltale signs of an impending accident, so you can avoid it.
Common types of bicycle accidents
While accidents and collisions can occur in almost any riding environment, these bicycle and vehicle accidents tend to be the most frequent.
- Stop signs: Bicyclists often collide with vehicles at intersections. In some cases, bicyclists do a slow and go and a motorist does not stop in time to avoid the bicyclist. In addition, the bicyclist comes to a halt at a two-way stop. Then the rider crosses the roadway, yet cross traffic has not stopped. The bicyclist collides with a vehicle that has the right of way.
- Right cross: A vehicle enters the roadway from a driveway, side street or alley. However, the driver fails to see the bicyclist on the road and then pulls into the path of bicyclist and causes a collision.
- Right hook: A bicyclist is riding on the shoulder or in a bike lane and then approaches the intersection. The motorist, traveling in the same direction as the bicyclist, does not notice bicyclist. He or she then turns directly into the path of the the rider and a collision occurs. In some cases, a driver will pass the bicyclist, brake and simply cut off the rider and cause a collision. The bicyclist does not have the time or distance to stop in time.
- Left cross: These accidents are common at intersections as well. The bicyclist is traveling in the opposite direction of the vehicle and approaches an intersection. The driver does not see the oncoming bicycle, turns in front of it and collides with the rider.
- Open door: In this scenario, a car is parallel parked on a city that allows bike traffic. The driver in the parked car does not check his or her mirrors nor looks out his window for bike traffic in the lane next to the car. Instead, the driver simply opens the car door, and the bicyclist collides with the opened door.
Nothing compares to exhilaration and freedom of riding a bicycle. With situational awareness and recognizing the warning signs, you can take steps to avoid accidents, so you remain safe and enjoy the ride.