No vehicle owns the roads alone, yet somehow bicyclists struggle to both stay safe and ride freely without risk of accidents. With motorized vehicles being much larger, heavier, and faster than the everyday bicycle, collisions or accidents can prove very harmful to cyclists. These accidents arise in a group of common ways and can be avoided. Prevention of accidents is preferable than dealing with their aftermath. Read on to see the most common causes of accidents and how you can avoid them.
Automobile drivers that do not obey traffic rules or follow road etiquette can lead to some of the most horrific accidents possible. This can come about in a variety of ways that people often think is harmless.
The most common issue is speeding while driving. Speed limits are put in place after careful consideration to minimize traffic collisions and help ensure safe passage for all those on the road. Speeding disproportionately affects the speed at which you can safely bring your car to a halt. Meaning, if your car can come to a stop from 20mph in 2 seconds it will need more than just 4 seconds to stop when driving at 40mph.
Not yielding to those who have the right of way is against the law. And these laws are put in place to protect all incoming traffic, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Unnecessary and unsafe lane changes are not legal and are a major component in the written portion of driving license tests. Drivers need to not switch lanes too often while driving and only switch lanes when the road permits it.
While you as a cyclist can’t control the actions of others on the road, you can stay vigilant to cars that you may come across that are driving recklessly. Fit your car with a horn if possible to do your best to alert any traffic when you are close to any potential harm. Lastly, be sure to stay in the designated bike lane where possible to further decrease your chance of collision.
Distracted driving can come about in a variety of ways. Analysis done over at DSSLaw.com lists distracted driving and talking on the phone as two top culprits for accidents with bicycle riders. Talking on the phone while driving as well as other forms of distracted driving are against the law. Having your phone up to your ear eliminates a driver’s ability to maintain both hands on the steering wheel, causes him to not solely focus on driving, slows down his reaction time, and can even increase their blind spot on the side they have the phone held up on. Be sure to stay clear of drivers that seem distracted or are talking on their phone.
A lot of accidents happen simply because those on the road don’t act with care. They will switch lanes or make turns without adequately checking their blind spot, will not reduce speeds under extreme weather conditions, fail to make observations of other travelers on the road, and get behind the wheel while medicated or under the influence. Some of these issues are again the law and some are just common sense and basic road etiquette. Careless drivers can often be seen and it is wise to avoid them when possible.
Sometimes the issue is not with those who share the road with you, but rather with the road itself. Potholes, cracked asphalt, or obstructed roads can cause severe accidents. Issues can also come from the greenery that grows under the road construction, causing cracks in its surface. It is best to ride at an appropriate speed to ensure that you can brake in time and avoid any accidents. You can also, when possible, opt for roads that are in better shape and offer less chance for injury and accidents.
Nothing is guaranteed in life, especially not our safety. Every time you go out onto the road you are at a certain level of risk. But there are ways to minimize the risk and be as safe as you can be. Be sure to be alert of the cars and drivers on the road and do what you can to avoid any potential danger. It is also important to make sure that you are obeying traffic rules to help do your part in ensuring everyone’s safety. Also be sure to always wear your protective gear, such as helmets, elbow guards, and knee guards so that in the unfortunate event of an accident or collision you are safe from serious injury.