While cycling doesn’t seem like a particularly risky mode of travel, it’s an unfortunate reality that bicyclists are overrepresented among those who are injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes.
Most bicycle crashes are entirely preventable, especially when drivers take the proper precautions they need to behind the wheel and riders know what dangers they are up against. Below, we discuss four common situations that lead to car-on-bike collisions and steps to take in order to prevent them.
A left-cross accident occurs when a vehicle driver makes a left-hand turn (such as when yielding at a green light) and fails to see a bicycle rider going in the opposite direction, thus crashing into the side of the biker. This is a common occurrence when riders are using the sidewalk, as many drivers fail to look beyond the fast-moving roadway for pedestrians/riders or things like parked cars or trees which may be blocking their viewpoint.
Ultimately, preventing this type of accident involves really going back to the basics: drivers should always be keeping a proper lookout on the road, sidewalk, and crosswalk, especially before deciding to safely turn.
A right hook accident occurs when a driver is traveling in the same direction as a bicycle rider and attempts to overpass the rider before turning right, but fails to create enough distance between their vehicle and the biker. The driver ultimately turns right into a bicycle’s path and the rider is either hit from the side or cut off and forced to collide head-on with the vehicle.
These accidents occur more frequently when drivers don’t use their turn signals or allow bicyclists to pass them on the right. Prevention then comes from properly using blinkers to let bikers know of their next moves and sharing the road with those on two wheels.
A cyclist gets “doored” when a vehicle driver or a passenger on the driver’s side swings open their car door into the adjacent area and in front of an oncoming bicycle rider. A biker can either be struck from the side by the opening door or ride head-on into the door at high speeds.
Motor vehicle drivers are usually at fault when bicyclists are injured in dooring accidents. When exiting a vehicle on any road, all vehicle occupants should exercise caution before opening their doors by looking in the rearview mirror and turning their heads.
Similar to fender benders, rear-end bicycle crashes involving bicycle riders occur when a vehicle hits a bicycle from behind. While rear-end motor vehicle crashes are often considered minor accidents, rarely is there such a thing as a “minor” bicycle collision. Depending on whether there is another vehicle in front, a rider may be thrown from his bike and put in the center of oncoming traffic or even pinned between two vehicles.
The driver behind is almost always found to be at fault for a rear-end bicycle crash. All drivers have a responsibility to pay attention to the road by eliminating distractions, keep a proper lookout, reduce their speed, and increase their buffer as needed to prevent colliding with the person in front of them.
In a perfect world, everyone would follow the rules of the road and bicycle accidents wouldn’t exist. The unfortunate reality is that riders can take all the precautions they can to avoid the accidents we described above, yet they can still be injured due to no fault of their own.
Fowler Helsel Vogt is dedicated to protecting the rights of injured cyclists across Fresno and the surrounding areas. If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle collision, turn to our firm for dedicated legal advocates in your corner every step of the way.
Contact our firm at (559) 900-1280 for help pursuing the compensation you need to heal.
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