What you should know about handling more cyclists on the road
As summer approaches, more and more people are taking to their bikes to enjoy the beautiful weather. More cyclists on the road also means drivers and riders need to be even more diligent as they make their way around town.
Did you know that, in 2012 (the last year of available data) according to the NHTSA, there were more than 700 cyclist fatalities? These accounted for more than 2% of all traffic fatalities, the highest percentage rate in the last decade.
If you can avoid making some of these top mistakes, everyone on the road will be safe.
TOP MISTAKES that Bicyclists Make
- Bicyclist rides out into the street from a driveway, alley, or from between parked cars without stopping or looking for traffic. Drivers do not expect bicyclists to enter the road in the middle of a block. The driver has the right-of-way and expects ALL entering traffic to yield. Look left-right-left before entering a road.
- Bicyclist turns or swerves suddenly into the path of a motorist. Unfortunately, these crashes often involve children. Ride in straight, predictable lines; look over your shoulder for traffic; and use hand signals before changing lane position.
- Bicyclist rides through a stop sign or red light without stopping. Follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Be prepared to stop quickly.
- Bicyclist rides in the wrong direction, approaching cars head-on. This type of crash is often deadly. Drivers do not expect traffic to come from the wrong direction. These crashes can occur at driveways, intersections, or when drivers turn right and hit an oncoming bicyclist. Ride with the flow of traffic, never against it.
- Bicyclist rides while impaired, which affects the balance, coordination, focus, and quick reactions necessary for safe biking. Remember that a bicycle is a vehicle. If you plan to drink, get a safe ride home.
TOP MISTAKES that Drivers Make
- Driver turns in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway. Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed.
- Driver fails to search surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles. These crashes can occur in parking lots, at stop signs, when backing up, or when parking on the street. Before accelerating your vehicle, look around for all road users, including bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Driver turns right on red without looking to the right and behind, hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.
- Driver is going too fast for conditions and hits a bicyclist who comes into the road unexpectedly. Obey the speed limit, drive defensively, watch for others, and be prepared to stop.
- Driver overtakes a bicyclist but doesn’t see them until it is too late. Factors may include speeding, inattention, and alcohol on the part of the driver, and poor visibility or alcohol on the part of the bicyclist. Always do visual scans of the roadway for other traffic, especially at night.
- Driver passes a bicycle too closely. These crashes tend to occur to riders 15 and older. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.
STATISTICS – Courtesy of the NHTSA
- In 2012, cyclist fatalities accounted for 2.2% of all traffic fatalities totaling 786 deaths
- 48% of bicyclist deaths occurred between 4:00 pm and midnight
- 9% of fatalities and 20% of injuries occured among children under 16
- 24% of bicyclists killed had a BAC above the legal limit
- 37% of fatal crashes involved a driver or bicyclist who has been drinking
*Data accrued from the NHTSA Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Guide.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, let our experienced legal team guide you through your time of need, seeking justice and demanding appropriate compensation for your injuries. We have helped our clients win settlements worth millions of dollars and we can help you if you’ve been injured by the carelessness of someone else .