The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s July 2014 issue of Safety in Numbers provides an overview of the common causes of bicycle accidents and how to prevent them. It’s a topic worth covering because nearly 50,000 cyclists are injured and 700 die each year in traffic accidents.
Factors Associated with Bicycle Accidents
There are several factors that come into play in cycling accidents. For instance, alcohol is a factor in 37 percent of bicycle traffic accidents; sometimes it’s a driver that’s under the influence, and other times, the cyclist. In a fatal bicycle accident in 2012, a cyclist was carrying alcohol when he was in an accident with an SUV in Arvada. Local media reports at the time noted that the police did not say whether the cyclist was intoxicated.
Other notable risk factors are listed below.
- Time of day: nearly half of all bicycle fatalities occur in the evening between 4 p.m. and midnight.
- Location: almost 70 percent of the accidents occur in urban areas.
- Gender: nearly 90 percent of bicycle fatalities are male.
Some Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are several mistakes that both riders and drivers might make that increase the risk of a crash. Some of the common causes of bicycle accidents related to driver error are listed below.
- They turn in front of the cyclists rather than yielding to cyclists with the right of way.
- They don’t carefully scan their surroundings before moving.
- They turn right on red without looking to their right or behind them.
- They travel too fast and therefore don’t have enough time to stop for cyclists who appear suddenly.
- They pass cyclists too closely.
Cyclists make mistakes too.
- They enter a roadway without looking and fail to yield to vehicles.
- They turn suddenly into the path of traffic.
- They go through a stop sign or red light without stopping.
- They ride against the traffic rather than with it.
- They ride wearing earphones, making them inattentive to their surroundings.
Bicycle Accident Prevention
The last section of the NHTSA publication provides several simple measures that everyone on the road can take to reduce the risk of the common causes of bicycle accidents.
The first and most fundamental step for everyone to take is to simply abide by the law. Use your turn signals, share the road, stay attentive, and yield when appropriate.
Bicyclists can do several things to decrease their risk.
- Always assume drivers cannot see you. Use the appropriate signals and act predictably.
- Ride with, not against, traffic.
- Do not cycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Leave the music at home and your phone tucked away. It’s very easy to be distracted by electronic devices.
- Ride on bike paths whenever possible.
- Watch for changes in the roadway (holes, uneven pavement, etc.) that might affect your balance.
- Wear light, reflective clothing at night and use reflectors.
Drivers should do their part, too.
- Try to anticipate what others are going to do and act predictably.
- Drive a speed that’s safe for the conditions.
- Do not use electronic devices while driving.
- Leave more than enough room when passing cyclists.
- Always carefully look around you in all directions before making a turn or backing up.
Need a bicycle accident attorney in Arvada? Call D.J. Banovitz
If you or a loved one were involved in a bicycle accident in Arvada, attorney D.J. Banovitz might be able to assist you. To determine how we may be able to help you in the claims process, contact D.J. Banovitz today at 303-300-5060.