Common Causes for Bicycle Accidents
Each year, more Americans are riding bicycles for exercise, commuting to work, or riding recreationally with family and friends. When bicycle-motor vehicle accidents occur, motorists often blame the accidents on bicyclists. But motorists themselves often don’t pay attention, drive recklessly, and fail to yield the right of way. Some motorists even don’t understand that bicyclists are subject to the same motor vehicle laws, and also have a right to be on the road. Large cities, like Los Angeles, can be especially dangerous for bicycle riders due to a large number of cars on the road.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration revealed that in 2017, 783 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle-related accidents. When a motorist and bicyclist get into an accident, the bicyclist is more often than not the one who is injured. It is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by both motorists and bicyclists, and one that can easily be changed by simply learning how to react when sharing the road. The following are some of the more common causes of bicycle-vehicle accidents.
Motorists and bicyclists must focus on the road in order to avoid accidents. Those who multitask while driving or riding, such as smoking, eating, sightseeing, and using cell phones and navigation systems, increase the likelihood of causing an accident.
Denying Bicyclists Adequate Space
Motorists need to be aware of bicyclists and give them adequate space. They shouldn’t drive too close in front of, behind, or next to a bicyclist because it doesn’t allow either one enough time to react and prevent an accident from occurring. Bicyclists need adequate space to safely navigate the roads, to merge into and out of traffic, and time to be seen by motorists. Motorists also need to take extra care when backing or pulling out of driveways, traversing sidewalks, or driving through parking lots.
Failing to Obey Traffic Devices or Signs
Motorists who fail to stop or yield to traffic lights or signs are dangerous to everyone. Bicycle riders need to pay strict attention to motorists and never assume that they will obey the traffic laws. For that matter, motorists should assume that bicycle riders will not be obeying the traffic laws either. Defensive driving is often the difference between walking away unscathed or being seriously injured.
Failure to Yield
Many motorists fail to yield the right of way to bicyclists, the result of which can be disastrous. Common bicycle-motorist accidents include drivers opening their doors into oncoming traffic, sideswiping, rear-ending, crossing in front of, or turning into the path of a bicyclist.
Speeding or Aggressive Driving, and Road Rage
Speeding is a major cause of accidents. The faster someone drives, the less time they have to react to situations around them. Driving recklessly and with abandon is one of the most dangerous things a motorist or bicycle rider can do. Weaving in and out of traffic, running stop signs or stop lights, or otherwise driving aggressively places everyone at risk.
Dangerous Road Conditions and Inclement Weather
The road itself can be dangerous to bicyclists. Potholes, cracks and raised sections of concrete, manhole covers, railroad tracks, gravel left on the road after a storm, rain, snow, sleet, or the glare of the sun on the road are just several things that can cause a bicycle accident.
Bicycle Defects or Lapse in Safety Standards
Defects such as cracked bicycle frames; poorly designed tires, brakes, or gears, manufacturing design errors, or the failure of a company to meet safety standards can cause a bicyclist to be injured in an accident.
Drug, Alcohol, or Drowsy Driving
Motorists who are drowsy or have impaired thinking due to drugs or alcohol are dangerous to themselves and others. Slower reaction times and poor judgment are a recipe for disaster and can result in serious injury or death. Bicycle riders have very little protection against large and heavy vehicles, especially when the motorist is driving under the influence.
Bicyclists also need to take responsibility for their actions. They should not automatically assume that they are seen by motorists, or that motorists understand bicyclists have rights while riding on the road. Bicycle riders deserve the same rights and respect that motorists do under the law. A Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer can help sort things out if your rights have been violated.
How To Reduce Your Risk Of A Bicycle Accident
Road congestion is only getting worse, and bicyclists need to protect themselves while sharing the road with motorists. Wearing an approved bicycle helmet and bright clothing, utilizing bicycle lights and reflective materials, and maintaining a safe distance from other bicyclists and motorists can make the difference between getting in an accident and staying safe.
Contacting a Lawyer for Help
If you or someone you care for has been injured in a bicycle accident, M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you get back on your feet. Our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers know how to protect your legal rights, will investigate your claim, and obtain the best possible settlement for your injuries. Contact us for a free consultation.