Having handled bike accident cases for more than 20 years, I am amazed at how many of the car vs. bicycle collisions occur out of the same or similar scenarios. Here is a list of some of the more common scenarios I see when consulting with injured bicyclists:
- LEFT TURNING CARS– A car makes a left-hand turn in front of a cyclist coming from the opposite direction.
- BROADSIDE COLLISIONS FROM CARS ON A SIDE STREET– A vehicle at a stop sign on a side street pulls out in front of a cyclist entering the intersection.
- RIGHT TURNING CARS– A motorist making a right-hand turn cuts off a cyclist riding parallel to the vehicle.
- BICYCLIST REARENDED– A cyclist is hit from behind by an overtaking truck.
- CARS EXITING DRIVEWAYS– A car pulls out from a driveway in front of a cyclist.
- “DOORING” THE CYCLIST– The driver of a parked car doesn’t look first and opens the door into an approaching cyclist.
In every one of these scenarios, the driver’s always claim “I never saw the cyclist”. Personally, I think this “I saw nothing” claim, is nothing more than a lame and convenient excuse because THE LAW REQUIRES motorists to be alert for ALL traffic including cyclists and pedestrians so a motorist can’t excuse his error by saying he didn’t see what was clearly there to be seen. However, this excuse does point out one of the most important things every cyclist can do to try to avoid a collision:
MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE!
Here are some of the things you can do to make yourself as visible as possible:
- Use lights and reflectors on your bike.
- Wear brightly colored cycling clothes.
- “Ride big”– that means be obvious to motorists by asserting your right to assume the travel lane when necessary for your own safety.
- Signal your intention by pointing in the direction you are turning and make it obvious where you are going.
- Carry a card or wear a Road ID with emergency information in case of an accident.
- Always wear a helmet.
- To the extent possible, try to avoid congested intersections and rush hour traffic.
I hope these tips help you avoid getting hit by a car while riding your bike. Good luck and ride safe!
James B. Reed
Bicycle Accident Lawyer