Even the most experienced cyclists aren’t immune to confrontations with vehicles. Wearing a helmet is a start, but are you able to identify the most common scenarios that contribute to car-bike accidents or collisions? They’re not always as obvious as you think.
Occurs when a car passes a cyclist on the left and then proceeds to make a right hand turn in front of the cyclist.
Bicycle Safety Tip: In busy areas or if the road is too narrow for cars to safely pass, take the lane. If you’re passing a car on the right, try to stay out of the driver’s blind spots.
When a car suddenly pulls out of a driveway, parking lot or side street on the right, this sets up one of the most common car-bike collisions.
Bicycle Safety Tip: Take the lane. Also avoid riding on sidewalks and make your presence well known by riding with a light at dawn and dusk. Wear bright colors, slow down and anticipate exiting cars.
A driver opens a car door right in the path of a cyclist.
Bicycle Safety Tip: Ride your bike at least three feet from cars or take the lane in unsafe areas. Look ahead several vehicles and gaze at side mirrors for any indication of a driver. Be prepared to slam on the brakes quickly. When you do, crouch and shift your weight back over the rear wheel.
A motorist fails to see a cyclist and makes a left hand turn either directly into the cyclist or just in front of, causing the bike to slam into the vehicle.
Bicycle Safety Tip: Don’t jump the gun at red lights, where cars could run the light to make a left hand turn. If you see a vehicle coming at you, make a right hand turn into the lane the vehicle is headed. Wear bright colored clothes even during the day and try to make eye contact with drivers.
A motorist hits a cyclist from behind. The odds of being hit from directly behind are quite low compared to other bike-car scenarios. They increase, however, when a cyclist suddenly swerves into the lane to avoid an obstacle or moves in and out of the parking lane in between parked cars.
Bicycle Safety Tip: When commuting by bike, always BE PREDICTABLE, signal your intentions and maintain your line. Never move to the left hand side without looking first and give yourself enough room on the right to comfortably maneuver out of harm’s way. Dress in bright colors, choose wide roads and, if possible, avoid busy roads.