Bicycles are an eco-friendly means of transportation. They are immune (to some extent) to traffic snarls and give an awesome cardio workout. But bicycles have their share of flaws, and sometimes, given their smaller size, they can be fatal. Riding a bicycle, just like any other vehicle, requires a ton of concentration. Accidents happen when this concentration goes for a toss.
However, not all cyclists are solely responsible for bike accidents. Oftentimes, a driver who is in a hurry to reach work or someone who is careless or irresponsible may try to sneak into the bicycle lane to get through traffic and may knock down a cyclist in the process. When incidents like this happen, it’s best to do your research and hire the best bicycle accident attorneys based on your location.
One of the most common reasons for bicycle accidents, or just about any accident, is distracted driving. Merriam-Webster defines distraction as “an object that directs one’s attention away from something else.” Simply put, a driver may decide to check their smartphone for notifications or may take their eyes off the road because they saw an interesting signboard. Both of these actions do not end well. Other reasons include eating or daydreaming while driving and being engaged in a conversation with the passengers or driving after the consumption of alcohol or recreational/non-recreational drugs.
When talking about accidents caused by distracted driving, the following are the most common ones.
Confusion Over the Right of Way
This happens mainly at intersections when a cyclist comes in contact with a vehicle at a 90-degree angle despite having the right of way.
You can find this happening mainly during rush hour traffic. A vehicle may, intentionally or unintentionally, brush past a cyclist during overtaking. The cyclist is pushed off their bike as a result.
The Right Hook
As the name suggests, this incident occurs when a car in the driving lane turns right without a turn signal. The cyclist in the left lane runs into the car, resulting in an accident.
The Right/Left Cross
The right cross happens when a vehicle makes a sudden right from a street, parking lot, or driveway and comes in contact with the cyclist. The left cross is when a vehicle approaching the cyclist from the opposite direction makes an unannounced left turn crossing the cyclist’s path.
The Door Prize
This type of accident may happen to anyone. It occurs when the driver or a passenger of a car, which is parallel parked, opens the door without looking out for cyclists or other vehicles. A bigger vehicle may just smash the doors, but a cyclist will be knocked down or may be pushed into the path of other vehicles.
The reason why distraction is responsible for these accidents is that, most often, the cyclist is in the field of view of the driver. Simply concentrating on the road could have avoided these accidents.
As a cyclist, accidents are unavoidable, even if you follow all the rules and concentrate on the road. Here are a few tips for a safe journey.
Learn the Essentials
The essentials here refer to hand signals, traffic lights, and road signs. Good knowledge of these does not just help the cyclist but also other drivers and pedestrians.
Wear Appropriate Gear
This isn’t limited to helmets. High-visibility clothing with long sleeves and appropriate eyewear are add-ons that will offer extra layers of security.
Listening to your favorite music or podcast during your commute isn’t something that’s new. However, when you’re driving a vehicle, concentration is of paramount importance. Accidents happen when a cyclist/driver focuses more on the music than driving.
Lookout for Car Doors:
Stay alert to your surroundings. In addition to car doors that open suddenly, a cyclist must also keep an eye out for distracted pedestrians, out-of-control pets, and kids who wander away from their parents.
Most accidents are avoidable when a driver prioritizes their safety as well as the safety of those around them. In other cases, it’s wise to seek immediate medical and legal assistance to get back on your feet as soon as possible.