The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1,000 bicyclists are killed, and 130,000 are injured annually in the United States. In addition to the physical and emotional toll of bicycle accidents, the CDC estimates that the annual financial costs of injuries and fatalities caused by bicycle accidents exceed $23 billion after accounting for health care and lost productivity.
Accidents involving bicycles can occur for a variety of reasons, even when proper safety protocols are followed. You should be aware of the following common causes of bicycle accidents to protect yourself.
When riding a bicycle near parked cars on the road, you run the risk of having a car door open in front of you while you’re moving. Frequently, these events occur so quickly that cyclists have no time to react; as a result, many end up colliding with the doors and flying over them upon impact. Depending on how the individual lands, bicycle accidents involving car doors can cause catastrophic injuries. To avoid this type of accident, you must be vigilant about checking parked vehicles to see if anyone is sitting inside.
When riding a bicycle on the road, you must remain in the far-right lane or bicycle lane. If a bicycle path or sidewalk is available, you should never ride on the road. Additionally, if you must cross the street, you must do so at a crosswalk or intersection. Do not cross traffic lanes or utilize the car turning lanes.
One of the most frequent collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles occurs when a car makes a right turn. Always exercise extreme caution at crosswalks where right-turning vehicles may be present. Distracted driving has become a major cause of all types of accidents, so if you’re approaching an intersection on your bicycle, make sure the driver of the vehicle can see you. If the vehicle indicates a right turn, you should not pull up next to it.
In addition to avoiding the above-mentioned common causes of bicycle accidents, you should always implement the following road safety measures:
- Check That Your Bicycle Is in Working Order
A quick visual inspection of your bicycle before riding can save you a great deal of trouble in the future. Ensure that your chain is lubricated and taut. Examine the hand brakes and ensure that the handlebars are not loose. Ensure that your tires are properly inflated, and your seat is properly adjusted and secured. Verify that your bike’s front and rear reflectors are visible.
- Wear A Helmet
Helmets are required by law and can save your life. You should ensure that your helmet fits properly on your head and that the straps are secure when they are fastened. Secure the chin strap to prevent the helmet from moving. Ensure there is no room for movement inside the helmet. Insert pads if necessary to ensure a proper fit.
- Follow Traffic Laws
Ensure that you are well-versed in all local and state bicycle laws. Remember to always use hand signals when operating a bicycle and to ride in traffic (never against). Additionally, you should never use earbuds or any other form of ear covering that prevents you from hearing and responding to surrounding traffic.
Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at 2H Law Firm if you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident in California. Our attorneys have won millions of dollars for our tens of thousands of satisfied clients in cases involving bicycle accidents. Contact us at (619) 374-9320 today to schedule your complimentary and no-obligation consultation.