Spring is here! After the long, cold, and dreary Winter, we could not be more excited to see the sun! On pleasant days, you are sure to encounter a cyclist on the roads. Especially in areas near bike trails, you must be aware if there is a cyclist sharing the road with you. A bike accident is more likely to happen if you are not alert and using proper driver safety. You can avoid a bike accident with a cyclist if you keep a few key things in mind.
A bike accident is more likely to occur if you don’t realize cyclists are entitled to share the road with your vehicle.
In all states in the U.S., cyclists are considered to be operating a vehicle, and therefore, are entitled to ALL of the same rights as an automobile. A bike accident may occur if you don’t yield to cyclists. You must treat cyclists with the same respect as any slow moving vehicle. Keeping this in mind is the best way to avoid a bike accident
Patience, Not Patients
A bike accident is a primary risk for any cyclist. It is especially risky if you use a bicycle as your main mode of transportation. Remember these things when you are behind the wheel of an automobile to avoid a bike accident:
- Only pass a bicycle when it is safe to do so. Never tailgate a cyclist, as they stop more quickly than an automobile
- If there is a question to right-of-way, always yield to the cyclist to avoid a bike accident
- Allow extra time for cyclists to get through an intersection
- Recognize the potential for cyclist road hazards and be sure to share the lane appropriately
You should never pass a cyclist unless you are completely sure you can do so safely. Since a cyclist is entitled to use the driving lane, you must allow them ample space to ride in. If passing a cyclist in MO, you must allow at least 3 feet of space between you and the cyclist the entire time. Otherwise you may encounter a bike accident and cause serious bodily harm or death to the cyclist.
Check for Cyclists Turning Right and Left
When you are making a right hand turn, ensure you do not encounter a cyclist in your path. If a cyclist is sharing the lane with you and you approach a red light or stop sign and are planning to make a right turn, make sure you allow the cyclist time to navigate the turn or clear the intersection first. Otherwise, you may cause a bike accident by clipping the cyclist during your right hand turn. The same caution should be used when navigating a left-hand turn. A cyclist may not come to a complete stop at a 4-way intersection or may be traveling more quickly than it appears.
Avoid a Back-Up Bike Accident
When backing out of a drive, make sure the roadway is clear of cyclists. They can be difficult to spot when backing up. Make sure to check for a cyclist thoroughly so you can avoid a bike accident.
Keep Cyclists in Mind When Exiting Your Vehicle
One of the most dangerous encounters for a cyclist is with a commuter’s car door. When you parallel park on a heavily commuted street, you should check for cyclists in your rear and side view mirrors before opening your car door. Thousands of cyclists are injured in a bike accident like this each year.
Bicycle riders have as much of a right to be on the road as you do in your car. Be respectful of the cyclists by giving ample following and passing distance and being aware of your surroundings. The likelihood of a bike accident decreases significantly if you are more aware of cyclists.
Resist the Urge to Blow your Horn
If you feel the need to use your horn to alert a cyclist that you are passing, please do so with enough distance so as not to frighten or alarm the cyclist. This could cause a bike accident by startling the rider and causing them to lose control of their bike.
If All Else Fails, Join the Fun!
Cycling is not only great exercise, it can be extremely therapeutic. If you or a loved one is looking for a great, low-impact workout – try cycling! This will not only help you get into shape, but to better understand what cyclists deal with while sharing the roads with automobiles. Hopefully, this insight will make you more cautious in the future with cyclists and avoid a nasty bike accident.
Bike Accident Statistics:
In 2012, 726 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes
69% of fatal bike accident occurrences reported in 2012 occurred in urban areas
43% of fatal bike accidents reported in 2012 happened during the hours of 4 p.m. – 7:59 p.m.
Alcohol use was reported in 37% of fatal bike accident occurrences in 2012
If you or a loved one is injured in a bike accident with a vehicle, call our firm today at 314-862-7222 to discuss your legal rights.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Richard Drdul under this license and has not been altered or changed in any way.