Bicycling is more than just a fun outdoor activity. It’s a mode of transportation that millions use every day. However, riding a bike on busy streets comes with risks, particularly when other road users behave carelessly or recklessly. Understanding these risks can help bicyclists and drivers alike to prevent accidents.
What Are the Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Here are some common examples of contributing factors in bicycle accidents:
- Distracted Driving: When drivers don’t pay full attention to the road, they are more likely to overlook nearby bicyclists. This lack of awareness can lead to serious accidents.
- Impaired Driving: Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol have impaired judgment and coordination, increasing the risk of bicycle accidents.
- Opening Car Doors: Many bicyclists get hurt when vehicle occupants fail to check for oncoming bicycles before opening their doors, leading to “dooring” accidents.
- Speeding: When drivers go too fast, they have less time to react to bicyclists. This can result in severe collisions, especially in areas with a lot of bicycle traffic.
- Failure to Yield: Accidents often happen when drivers fail to yield the right of way to bicyclists at intersections or while making turns.
- Poor Road Conditions: Hazards like potholes, uneven roads, slippery surfaces, or other road conditions make it hard to maintain control on two wheels.
Safety Tips for Bicycle Riders
Safety should always be a top priority for cyclists. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, these safety tips can help you stay safe on the road:
- Wear a Helmet: A well-fitted helmet significantly lowers the risk of head injuries in case of an accident.
- Be Visible: Make sure drivers can see you. Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially in dim or low-visibility conditions. Use lights and reflectors on your bicycle at night.
- Follow Traffic Rules: Obey all traffic signs and signals. Ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic and follow the rules of the road like any other driver.
- Signal Your Turns: Use hand signals to let drivers and other cyclists know your intentions. This is particularly important in preventing collisions at intersections.
- Stay Alert: Keep a close eye on the road and be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for potholes, debris, and parked cars whose doors might open suddenly.
- Keep a Safe Distance: Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, especially when you ride near parked cars, to avoid getting hit by opening doors.
- Avoid Distractions: Don’t use headphones or your phone while cycling. Staying alert helps you react quickly to potential hazards.
- Use Bike Lanes: Whenever possible, ride in bike lanes. They are designed for your safety and keep you separated from vehicular traffic.
- Check Your Bike: Regularly inspect your bicycle to ensure it’s safe to ride. Make sure the brakes work, the tires are inflated, and the chain is in good condition.
- Ride Defensively: Never assume that drivers will see you. Be prepared at all times to react to cars that turn or pull out suddenly.
Speak with a Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyer in St. Louis
Did you get hurt in a bicycle accident in St. Louis? Was someone else to blame? The Hayden Law Firm St. Louis Accident & Injury Lawyers can help.
Contact our bicycle accident attorneys today to discuss the details of your accident claim in an initial consultation session.