Bicycle crashes that involve a motor vehicle often have devastating outcomes. A variety of factors contribute to bicycle collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), each year about 2 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists.
A total of 843 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2019. Suffice it to say, motor vehicle collisions with bicyclists is a serious problem. Causes of these accidents vary, but include distracted driving, distracted cycling, unsafe lane changes, driving too close to sidewalk shoulders or in bike paths, and failure of both motor vehicle drivers and cyclists to follow the rules of the road.
Regardless of whether you use a bicycle for your daily commute, for exercise, or simply for the joy of cycling, the reality is you are at significant risk whenever you share the road with motor vehicles. Bicycle riders are entitled to the same legal protections and rights as any other driver. There is no reason why cyclists should be treated as second-class citizens by other drivers.
Motor vehicle drivers tend to think they have a superior right to use the roads. From passing without leaving proper space or room to riding the rear wheel of a bicyclist, dangerous, aggressive driving often places cyclists at greater risk. Distracted drivers also contribute to accidents because they often fail to realize the presence of bicycles sharing the road.
If you have been involved in a bicycle accident caused by a motor vehiclist, make contact to the injury lawyer you can trust. A lawyer can discuss the facts of the accident in detail. They can assist you throughout the process of recovering compensation for the accident.
- Not Leaving a suitable buffer
Drivers following cyclists closely and passing with less than three feet of space between the vehicle and the cyclist can create unnecessarily dangerous situations. Not only could the driver hit the cyclist, but they also leave the cyclist with fewer options for avoiding collisions or another type of accident.
Speeding can increase the stopping time of the driver when they need to make quick decisions on the road. Though high-speed crashes often lead to severe, life-altering injuries, accidents at low speeds can also be dangerous for cyclists because of how exposed they are.
- Distracted driving
There is little surprise that distracted driving is a major cause of collisions with cyclists, as this is a significant cause of accidents in general. Distracted driving can apply to cyclists as well. Distracted driving happens when drivers fail to pay adequate attention to the road and their surroundings. When this occurs, drivers and cyclists are prone to dangerous collisions.
Some common examples of distracted driving include responding to text messages, reading emails, dialing and talking on your phone, and adjusting the radio or a GPS. You should not be liable for damages caused by someone else’s negligence. Consult with a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney who can investigate your case, determine what you are owed, and go after the parties responsible for the accident.
- Risky lane changes
Changing lanes can still have risks even if the driver is not swerving erratically. Accidents result from the drivers who make unsafe lane changes without signaling or looking. These vehicles can merge into a cyclists’ lane causing serious injuries or death.
- Weaving in and out of traffic
Drivers who weave in and out of busy traffic may not see cyclists on the road. They can make evasive maneuvers to avoid collisions, but these drivers often drift outside of the traffic lane and into the bike lane, causing collisions with unsuspecting bicycle riders.
- Turning without looking
At intersections, drivers may be able to turn but have an obligation to check for pedestrians and cyclists who may be crossing the road. It is important to turn only after signaling and watching for others. Otherwise, an accident may occur at the intersection.
- Failure to yield
Failure to yield is another problem caused by reckless or careless driving, posing potential risks for bicyclists. Motor vehicle drivers are obligated to yield to oncoming traffic in some cases, such as when lanes merge or entering roundabouts. Failure to do so carefully can result in a serious accident.
- Impaired driving
Drunk driving is another cause of bicycle collisions. When the vehicle driver is operating under the influence of alcohol, there is a very real and very significant chance that they will harm themselves or others. Impairment from drugs or alcohol can significantly reduce the ability of drivers to make intelligent or quick decisions to avoid accidents.
- Running a stop sign or red light
Another common cause of bicycle crashes is running a red light or failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. This is especially true in neighborhoods and suburban areas or in dense city centers. Running a red light is dangerous enough for drivers of motor vehicles, but the risks are even greater for cyclists.
- Driver fatigue
Drivers who are tired or fatigued, either from lack of sleep, a long work day, or due to a prescribed medication or medical condition are a danger to others on the road. Drivers who start their journey earlier in the day or return late at night after a hectic day are more likely to cause serious collisions with bicycles.
The examples above are some causes behind the staggering number of bicycle crashes that occur in the United States each year. Accident injuries are serious, and if someone requires legal consultation, they can consult a Philadelphia Bicycle Accident Lawyer. An experienced legal practitioner can guide you through your options for recovering compensation for your injuries and expenses.