Bicycling is a common pastime in San Diego, where citizens enjoy almost year-round ideal weather and plenty of beautiful landscapes for biking. Cyclists often take to rural and urban roads around Southern California for daily commutes, a bit of exercise, or for fun. Sadly, 21,287 cycling rides ended in road-accident injuries in the U.S. in 2014. Learning the four most common types of cycling accidents can help you avoid becoming a statistic in 2017.
Right-cross accidents describe a situation in which a vehicle pulls out of a side street or driveway to a cyclist’s right, striking the cyclist. In these accidents, the bicycle may run into the side of the vehicle or the vehicle may pull out and strike the cyclist from the side. Right-cross collisions are often the fault of the driver, who was inattentive or failed to adhere to roadway signs and rules. Bicyclists have the right of way in these scenarios, just as a motor vehicle would. Drivers should always check twice for cyclists before pulling out.
Bicyclists can help prevent these accidents by maximizing their visibility to drivers. Wear bright clothing and attach lights or reflective material to your bicycle. Use a flashing light at your bike’s front, even in the day, to increase your visibility. Always anticipate a right-cross accident. Slow down and prepare to stop when approaching a parking lot exit, driveway, or side street on your right side.
In this accident scenario, a vehicle making a left-hand turn fails to see or yield the right-of-way to a cyclist crossing the road on the opposite side. For example, a vehicle in an intersection might make a left and strike a bicyclist crossing the road. Left-cross accidents occur when drivers do not check for bikers, ignore a bicyclist’s right of way, or cut the biker off. A vehicle might strike the cyclist from the left-hand side or cause the cyclist to run into the right-hand side of the car.
Even if you have the right of way to use a crosswalk, look both ways before crossing the road or an intersection to avoid left-cross collisions. Many drivers run red lights, fail to yield the right of way, or simply don’t see bikers crossing the street. Never assume vehicles are going to stop for you to cross. Always be aware of vehicles trying to make left-hand turns, and assume they do not see you.
Due to driver inattention and the low visibility of cyclists, rear-end collisions are a common and dangerous type of cycling crash. Bicyclists must stop at a stop sign or red light like any other vehicle, and when a negligent driver fails to see the bicycle and stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision, it causes injury. Rear-end collisions are extremely dangerous for bikers, who can get launched from their bikes and into the road or run over by the vehicle. Make sure your rear red light is working before hitting the road.
The Door Prize
A door prize collision, also called dooring, occurs when the driver or occupant of a parked car opens a door directly in front of a moving cyclist. This might happen when a driver fails to pay attention to his or her surroundings and doesn’t see the cyclist. Cyclists don’t have enough time to stop or maneuver away from the door, and so they collide with it. This can lead to dangerous accidents and serious injury. Ride closer to the left when there is a row of parked cars, and keep a lookout for drivers and passengers sitting in their vehicles.
Many motorists don’t know or choose to ignore your rights on the roadway. Take your life into your own hands by doing everything you can to avoid common cycling accidents.