Common Bicycle Accidents and How to Avoid Them

A bicyclist is at a severe disadvantage if involved in a traffic accident because of the much greater weight of the other vehicles and the likelihood of being thrown from the bike. Another major problem is that many drivers have trouble seeing a bicycle. Accidents can be caused by the bicycle rider being negligent or by the fault of the drivers of other vehicles.

Here are the common reasons a bicycle rider may cause an accident:

  • Being Impaired: Being intoxicated on alcohol or drugs while riding a bike causes impairment of judgment and more risk-taking.
  • Riding on the Sidewalk: It is easy to hit pedestrians if riding a bike on a sidewalk.
  • Weaving Between Traffic: Weaving a bike through slow traffic is dangerous. A vehicle driver can suddenly open a door into a bike that is passing by too closely.
  • Failure to Stop: If you run a right light or a stop sign, you have a good chance of being hit.
  • Turning Left in Front of On Coming Traffic: Oncoming drivers may fail to see a bicycle turning left in front of them.
  • Riding at Night Without Lights and Reflective Safety Equipment: Bicycles are very hard to see when riding in the dark without a headlamp, tail lamp, and safety equipment.
  • Flat Tire or Mechanical Failure: Having a tire pop or a sudden mechanical failure, such as the brakes not working, is a cause of some accidents.
  • Road Conditions: Slippery road conditions are treacherous for bicycles. Hazards such as oil, stones, gravel, potholes, debris, and other things in the road can cause an accident.

The common causes of a bicycle accident that is the fault of a vehicle driver are:

  • Distracted Driving: The cause of many accidents is that drivers are using their phones.
  • Impaired Driving: The use of alcohol or drugs that make a driver intoxicated causes accidents.
  • Driver Fatigue: If the vehicle driver is tired, his or her response time will be slower.
  • Inadequate Spacing: Vehicle drivers who follow too close behind a bicycle can fail to stop in time if traffic suddenly slows.
  • Excessive Speed: Driving too fast that is unsafe is the cause of many accidents. A car speeding through a residential neighborhood is extremely dangerous to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Driving Into Bike Lanes: Drivers weaving in the lane and into a bike lane can hit bicyclists.
  • Dangerous Lane Changes: Vehicle drivers who make an unsafe lane change can hit a bicycle that they do not see.
  • Turning: A driver who fails to look carefully while turning may not see a bicyclist.
  • Failing to Stop: Failing to stop at a red light or running a stop sign may cause an accident with a bicyclist.
  • Failing to Yield: Vehicles share the roadway with bicycles and must follow the traffic rules, including yielding to bicyclists when necessary.

How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents

Here are some suggestions on how to avoid bicycle accidents:

  • No Substance Use: Don’t drink or use drugs when riding a bike.
  • Ride Defensively: Bicyclists need to pay careful attention to the other vehicles on the road.
  • Keep a Bicycle Maintained: Check the tire pressure and mechanical systems each time before riding.
  • Stay Off the Sidewalks: A bicycle should ride in the street, not on the sidewalk.
  • Night: Avoid riding a bicycle at night. If you absolutely must ride at night, be sure to wear reflective gear and have a working headlamp and tail lamp.
  • No Weaving or Riding Too Close to Other Vehicles: Avoid weaving in traffic and riding between cars. Be wary of doors suddenly opening from slowed or parked cars.
  • Follow All Traffic Rules: Stop at red lights and stop signs. Yield to other vehicles when necessary to follow the traffic rules and to avoid an accident.

Contact an Attorney Today!

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a traffic accident while riding a bicycle, contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation by calling (281) 475-4535 or filling out the web form.