In 2008, 716 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents. About 44,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents in 2007. Despite these sobering statistics, cycling remains a very popular past time. A few simple guidelines can help avoid a bicycle car collision. According to Bicycling Magazine, the most common bicycle car accidents involve the following situations:
1. Left Cross: This is when a car makes a left turn in front of or into an oncoming cyclist. This situation accounts for almost 50% of all bike car collisions. To avoid a collision, turn right with the oncoming car. Also, avoid “creeping” into an intersection at a red light.
2. Right Hook: This occurs when a motorist passes a cyclist on the left and turns right into the path of the cyclist. This is a situation where a cyclist needs to be aggressive. Don’t timidly hug the curb. Take the lane. Make sure the drivers see you. If the motorist sees the cyclist, he may not be happy to share the road, but he is certain to slow down to avoid a collision.
3. Colliding with an opening door: The cyclist always needs to look several cars ahead, and to be aware of cars that have just finished parking. Be prepared to stop suddenly to avoid collision with a car door.
4. Parking lots: A driver exiting a parking lot onto a roadway collides with a cyclist. This is a danger that is difficult to avoid. Ride visibly, avoid riding on the sidewalk, and be aware of cars exiting a lot.
5. Being overtaken by a car on the left. Again, ride visibly, with bright clothing, reflective lights, and preferably in a group.
Safe riding and being aware of the common situations that lead to bicycle auto accidents is important to success on the bike. Assume the driver doesn’t see you. These tips will help you avoid a bike car accident.