As a cyclist, you are at a much higher risk of severe injuries and death than drivers. The roads are supposed to be shared peacefully, but bicycle accidents happen anyways. While you can’t always predict a driver’s behavior, you can take preventative measures to decrease your chances of getting hit. These are some of the most common bicycle accidents and how you can avoid them.
The Left Hook
The most common bicycle accident on the road is the “left hook,” or when a left-turning vehicle fails to yield to an oncoming cyclist in the opposite lane. To avoid the left hook, never assume that an oncoming left-turning vehicle can see you. Even if you make eye contact, only cross if the driver specifically waves you forward.
The Right Hook
A “right hook” accident is another common accident in which a motorist passes up a cyclist on their left side and then suddenly turns right directly in front of them, without giving them ample time to brake. This type of accident is difficult to prevent, but it helps to glance in your mirror whenever you approach an intersection.
A driver opens their door in front of a cyclist and the bike can’t stop in time. This cyclist is either knocked down or forced to swerve into traffic. Regardless, the consequences of “dooring” are painful. As a cyclist, you should ride at least 4 feet away from the left side of a car. If you’re riding alongside parked cars, make sure each one is empty before zooming close by.
Whether you’re riding out of a driveway or crossing a controlled intersection, you are open to a “T-bone” accident. As you approach a street with heavy traffic, slow down, look both ways for traffic or other cyclists, glance at any traffic signs, and pay attention to traffic lights.
Sadly, not all accidents can be avoided, but there are some general safety tips that can help decrease the chance of injury. As a cyclist, you should always:
- Wear a helmet and protective clothing
- Install and use rearview mirrors and lights
- Learn and use hand signals
- Obey traffic laws
- Ride in the same direction as traffic
- Ride as closely as possible to the right side of the road when you’re going at a slower speed than traffic
Bicycle accidents can often result in serious injuries and reoccurring medical treatment. At Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C., our Longmont attorneys can provide aggressive legal representation to help you recover the compensation you need and deserve.
Call (720) 809-8310 or contact us online for more information about our services.