Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents & Ways to Prevent Them
More than 650 bicyclists lost their lives in bicycle accidents in 2011, and another 48,000 were seriously injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact, Florida has the highest number of bicycle accident fatalities in the nation, according to NHTSA.
To reduce the risk of a crash, it’s important to identify the common causes of bicycle wrecks and take the necessary safety precaution discussed below.
One of the most common contributing factors to bicycle accidents is failure of a bicyclist to see another vehicle or failure of a driver to see the bicycle. This might be the result of careless, distracted, or reckless riding or driving. Other causes of these accidents include:
- bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road;
- drivers making unsafe turns;
- bicyclists riding directly into the path of a car;
- drivers drifting into the path of a cyclist;
- bicyclists making an unsafe left turn;
- bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic;
- drivers or passengers in a car opening a door as a bicycle passes; and
- bicyclists riding without visibility gear such as headlights or reflectors.
Essentially, what most bike crashes boil down to is some form of either driver or bicyclist error or negligence. Bicyclists may take steps to prevent many accidents by following the rules of the road and taking simple safety measures.
Preventing Bike Crashes
Whether it’s your source of exercise, recreation or primary mode of transportation, take precautions to protect yourself on the road:
- Traffic laws – Traffic rules were put into place for a reason – to maintain order and keep everyone safe on the road. Take a class, know the rules and abide by them. Important safety laws include rules such as always riding with traffic, staying in the bike lane and using proper signaling when turning.
- Safety gear – Wearing proper gear will help protect you, should a wreck occur and using reflective clothing and equipment means more cars will see you.
- Bike maintenance – Make sure your bike is in proper working order and periodically check for broken or defective parts. Poorly maintained or malfunctioning bikes can cause serious accidents.
- Pay attention – It’s really as simple as that. Keep your eyes on the road, be aware of your surroundings and don’t listen to your headphones as you ride. This is really the best way to see (and avoid) approaching danger.
Legal Ramifications of a Bicycle Accident
In the event of a bicycle-car accident, the legal ramifications depend upon who was at fault for the accident. If the driver was at fault, he or she will be responsible for paying for all the cyclist’s damages, including hospital bills, lost time from work, and pain and suffering.
However, if the driver can show that the cyclist was partly at fault for the accident (e.g., not following a traffic law), the cyclist won’t be entitled to receive the full amount of compensation.
Legal Counsel in Florida from an Attorney
Our firm handles claims for accidents involving bicyclists and motorists in South Florida, and we are available for free consultations. Contact Chalik & Chalik today for a no-obligation legal consultation – (855) 529-0269.