Avoiding Bicycle Injuries May Require More Than Just a Helmet

Accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles often result in serious, life-altering injuries to the riders. There is simply very little to shield the bicyclist from the car and the road. Understanding the ways that bicycles often get hit can help operators avoid these accidents.

Intersections are responsible for one-third of all bicycle fatalities, and riders should approach them with caution. The most common way for a cyclist to get it hit is when crossing a street on the right. If a car is pulling out of the street, driveway or parking lot, you can easily get hit or end up slamming into the side of the vehicle. The driver simply will not see you. To avoid this, the bike should have a headlight and a horn and riders should use them. When approaching these types of intersections, pull to the left a little so you are in the driver’s view, and slow down enough to stop if you have to.

Riding into a door that is suddenly open while passing a parked car is another common cause of bicycle accidents, especially in areas where cars commonly park on the street. To avoid this, riders should stay alert and keep a safe distance between the parked car and themselves.

Crossing the street at a crosswalk while riding on a sidewalk can also pose a hazard. Here, if a car decides to turn right on red, the bicycle may be out of the driver’s line of sight. To avoid this, bikes should be equipped with front and rear flashing lights, and riders should slow down when entering a crosswalk. However, bicyclists may actually be safer on the road than on sidewalks and crosswalks. Sidewalks are only safe when they are long, free of driveways, free of pedestrians and contain few crosswalks.

While common sense and using a helmet can help reduce the likelihood of a crash, these scenarios still make it possible for even the safest cyclists to be injured. It is important for bicyclists to ride defensively and take time to think through their actions when riding. Doing so can help avoid common crash scenarios.