Bicycle injuries from motor vehicle accidents can be much more serious than in accidents involving just vehicles. Bicyclists don’t have the same kind of protection around their bodies as drivers and passengers inside a car. This leads to more incidents of serious injury and bicyclist deaths for bicycle riders.
The highest bicycle death rates occur in the summer between June and September when more bikes are on the road. Additionally, the majority of bicyclist deaths occur in city centers and other urban areas. A cyclist and a driver are equally responsible for following all traffic laws and sharing the road.
Read on to learn more about bicycle accident statistics, bicycle-related injuries, and tips for avoiding accidents while bicycle riding.
Accident-related injuries are often serious for cyclists involved in accidents with a car or truck. Common injuries include:
Wearing a helmet can reduce injuries to the head, neck, and face, while wearing protective clothing can reduce instances of road rash. Riding the right size bike can reduce the risk injury from a bicycle handlebar, seat, or pedal.
Drivers and cyclists have the same rights when sharing the road. Riders should ride in the bike lane if there is one, and ride in the right-hand lane position if there is no bike lane. Riders should always ride with the flow of traffic and must adhere to red lights and stop signs with cars traveling in the same direction.
When riding a bicycle, you should not only adhere to the written traffic laws, but also to the common traffic patterns in your city. Try to choose safer roads that are more rider-friendly than dangerous highways or commercial centers. A ride through downtown might be beautiful, but it can put you at higher risk of an accident with several commercial driveways for drivers to turn into or out of.
Drivers should treat bicyclists as they do other motor vehicles. However, many don’t know or care how they should drive near people riding bicycles. Drivers should watch for bicycles when turning at an intersection or driveway and move into the adjacent lane away from a bicyclist if passing a rider.
When riding a bicycle, you can’t trust that a driver sees you on your bike or will yield at bike lanes when turning at intersections. Always be aware of risks to your safety and take every measure to avoid an accident.
Riding with the flow of traffic, following traffic laws, and waiting for motorists at driveways and intersections can all help you in avoiding accidents with motor vehicles. The safety tips below can also help you reduce incidents and prevent injury in an accident.
Wearing a properly fitted helmet can reduce your risk of head injury and improve your chances of surviving a bicycle accident. Bicycle helmets absorb shock to your skull and cushion the impact to your face and neck if you are thrown from your bike and land on your head in an accident.
All cyclists under 18 years of age must wear a helmet when riding a bike in California.
Wearing reflective clothing, especially at night, can help motor vehicle operators see you on your bike and avoid an accident. You can also wear bright colors, such as fluorescent clothing, to make it easier for motorists to distinguish you from the numerous distractions in their line of vision.
By making yourself more visible, you increase the likelihood that drivers will see you and reduce the risk of becoming injured in an accident.
Bicycles don’t have turn signals that allow you to indicate your intentions to motorists on the road. Instead, learn the common hand signals to demonstrate to motor vehicle operators, pedestrians, and other bicyclists your intentions to turn, stop, slow down, or complete other actions that could affect the flow of traffic.
Riding at night can be extremely dangerous, even for an experienced bicyclist. There are higher incidences of driving under the influence by motorists and bicyclists alike that can lead to serious injuries or death in bicycle accident events. Additionally, seeing a bicyclist in the dark can be difficult, especially on poorly lit roads.
Approximately 40% of bicyclist deaths occur between 6 p.m. and 12 a.m. If you must ride in the dark, ensure that you use proper front and rear lighting as well as wearing reflective clothing and using reflectors or lights on your helmet.
You may not be able to avoid a bicycle accident if your brakes aren’t working properly or your bike is in disrepair. Ensure that your bicycle is as safe as possible by performing a simple safety check on your bicycle every time you ride and regular inspections of your bike every few months.
You’ll want to check the pedals for cracks in the plastic or issues with how they fit over the pegs. You also need to inspect the chain for any kinks, rust, or broken links. Check your tires, wheels, and reflectors to ensure that your bike is safe for riding and reacting quickly to incidents that could lead to accidents.
For help with a bicycle accident case in Orange County, turn to our experienced personal injury law team at Khalil Law Group in Newport Beach, CA. Call us today at (714) 613-7870 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a bike accident attorney from our firm.