Bicycle accidents are common in many areas of the United States, and they happen for various reasons. Some causes are intrinsic to bicyclists themselves, and some are outside of their control, but knowing what the leading causes are can help riders take necessary precautions and position themselves to avoid accidents in the first place. By examining statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is possible to identify which things cause bicycle accidents most often.
Distractions While Cycling
Distractions such as cell phone conversations can hurt motorists trying to watch for bicyclists and take their share of responsibility for the traffic around them. Cyclists must be aware of their surroundings and adjust their habits accordingly, so distractions should not be a problem when riding.
Motorists Passing Cyclists Too Closely or Cutting them Off
Motors passing too closely or cutting off cyclists are some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents. Bicyclists should always ride according to the rules of the road to avoid being cut off by motor vehicle drivers who aren’t paying attention. If a driver honks at a cyclist, it usually means they are trying to pass, so caution must be taken. A minor collision may occur if a rider does not respond quickly enough.
Bicyclists Riding Under the Influence of Alcohol or Other Drugs
It is hazardous to ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and while this is poor practice at any time, it may be even more dangerous to do so at night. Riders who are impaired by alcohol or drugs may be unable to respond quickly enough when confronted with an issue such as a sudden change in the road. They may also fail to anticipate the problems that may arise when they are under the influence.
Excessive Speeding by Motorists and Bicyclists
If a cyclist is riding at excessive speeds, they are putting him or herself at risk of colliding with another vehicle. A motorist who does not pay attention may be unable to react in time when coming up behind a fast-moving rider, making it easy for an accident to happen. Speeding may also endanger other people in the street by creating a long distance between vehicles.
Riding at Night Without Lights or Reflectors is Dangerous
It can be challenging for motorists to see bicyclists at night, so there is a high chance of an accident as they approach from behind and do not realize they are oncoming. Riders who choose to ride at night should have lights on their bikes or reflective gear visible to other drivers so that no accidents happen due to the lack of visibility at these times.
Failure of the Motorist to Yield the Right-of-Way
Cyclists have equal rights on the road, so motorists must also yield to them. If a cyclist is riding on a path or bike lane, drivers should not attempt to pass them, even if they are making slow progress due to heavy traffic. They also should not turn into a bike lane or cut off a rider sharing the road with them. It only takes one distracted driver for an accident to occur.
It should be clear that bike accidents are widespread, and they happen because of a combination of numerous factors. Bicycle accident injuries can be severe, so riders need to choose safe routes and wear helmets and other protective gear that can reduce the severity of injuries. By doing this, they can enjoy bicycling in a way that allows them to stay safe and healthy. By learning about the different types of damages caused by bike collisions, you can be prepared to react if you ever find yourself in this dangerous situation.