Why Do Drivers Hit Bicyclists So Often?

Approximately 1,000 bicyclists die in crashes yearly, accounting for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities. Another 130,000 are treated for bike-related injuries.

One of the main reasons why bicyclists get involved in traffic accidents is poor visibility, but that is not the only reason. Here are various reasons why bicyclists get hit so often on the road.

Poor Visibility

First, the visibility of cyclists is very poor, and not many drivers are on the lookout for them. This means while a cyclist could be in the clear view of the driver, the driver’s attention may not be on them but on other cars, meaning they are likely to make a move that results in the bicyclist being hit.

There are several things a bicyclist can do to increase their visibility when on the road. For example, you may want to wear brightly colored clothes that can help capture the attention of other road users. Because cyclist visibility becomes even poorer at night, you may want to turn your lights on besides wearing reflective clothes to help increase visibility. Ideally, avoid riding at night unless it is really necessary.

Distracted Driving and Riding

Distraction is a significant cause of accidents on American roads and is responsible for many bicycle accidents. Distractions come in many different forms, but the most common include using the phone, eating, drinking, smoking, getting lost in conversations, and checking the GPS. When a motorist is distracted, the chances of hitting vehicles near them become pretty high.

Distractions go both ways, and it is also possible for a cyclist to get distracted. Distractions when riding a bicycle can be even riskier because a bicycle depends on the rider’s balance to stay upright.

Failure to Yield Way and Parked Cars

According to the Pedestrian and Cyclist Information Center, a large percentage of bicycle-car collisions occur when a car takes a left turn striking an oncoming bicycle. This type of collision accounts for over half of all bicycle accidents.

Most drivers do not seem to understand that cyclists, like other road users, have the right of way. Another scenario is where a car overtakes a bicycle on the left and then takes a right turn without indicating its intention to turn.

Dooring incidents are also a major cause of cyclist accidents. Dooring occurs when occupants of parked cars open the door in the way of oncoming cyclists resulting in the cyclists driving into the open door. If you are cycling near parked cars, it is best to give them an arm’s length berth to avoid getting in this type of accident.

According to the NHTSA, poor roads contribute to 13% of bicycle accidents. Since bikes run on two wheels, any change in road conditions can cause a cyclist to lose their balance or cause the driver to go off course and into traffic.

What to Do After an Accident

“After a bicycle accident, the first thing you want to do is to get medical attention,” says lawyer at DC Law. So, it is best to call 911 to the scene. As you await help, you can ask an onlooker to document the scene if your injuries do not allow you to do it yourself.

When documenting a scene, you want to focus on anything at the scene that will be critical in determining fault and damages, such as your injuries, damage to your bike, the other vehicle’s license plates, etc. With this evidence, the next step should be contacting a bicycle accident attorney to help you navigate your injury claim.

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