Riding a bicycle is an eco-friendly alternative to driving a car. You can ride a bike to work, school, the grocery store, or anywhere else you need to commute to.
Opting to commute via bike will save you money on gas, but it also comes with its fair share of drawbacks. The biggest concern with being a cyclist is the risk of getting into an accident with a car, which is often quite serious.
For reference, 800 cyclists died in 2015 alone. As shocking as this statistic is, this number has only risen in recent years. Now, more than ever, cyclists are in danger as they share the road with much larger vehicles.
To understand how to stay safe while riding a bike, you’ll want to know what the main causes of bicycle accidents are. We’ll go over the most prominent reasons below.
One of the most common reasons for cyclist accidents is being inattentive.
When you’re behind the wheel, many things can draw your attention. From the obvious distraction of smartphones to seemingly minor tasks like eating, it’s easy to take your eyes off the road.
When this happens, you aren’t being attentive. This means that you don’t notice what’s going on or have a feel for the situation. As a result, you can cause an accidental crash.
For example, you might check your phone while driving down the road and veer into a biker that you didn’t see.
Drivers aren’t the greatest at being attentive and this causes accidents with bikers. At the same time, biker attentiveness is also a concern.
If bikers aren’t paying attention, then they can merge into the road when it isn’t safe. Furthermore, they won’t be able to avoid getting hit by a car as they won’t see it coming.
Any form of attentiveness on the road is dangerous. Be sure to pay attention at all times, whether you’re biking or driving, to limit cycling accidents.
Another cause of bike accidents is poor visibility.
To understand a situation on the road, you need to be able to see what’s happening. When visibility is low, you are unprepared and have less of a chance to avoid an accident.
If you’re struggling to see the road ahead of you, then you aren’t going to be able to see what’s beside you. It’s also likely that you’re going to be so focused on the fact that you can’t see that you don’t think to look for bikers.
When drivers can’t see, bikers are in an incredibly dangerous situation. What can make this even worse is driving at night when visibility is even lower.
With low visibility, the likelihood of seeing a biker drops. This can cause a situation where you hit someone without even seeing them.
When visibility is low, make sure to drive slowly and take extra time to scan the road around you. As a biker, wear reflective clothing and avoid riding in the blind spots of cars.
Negligence is another significant concern that causes accidents.
This mainly pertains to breaking a traffic law. Examples of negligence include speeding, refusing to yield, and driving too closely.
If you’re driving and exceeding the speed limit, then you have less time to react to a biker. Refusing to yield gives a cyclist nowhere to go. Driving too closely can cause a biker to make a mistake.
As you can see, being negligent makes the road more dangerous for a cyclist. In the same vein, the negligence of bikers can also cause a crash.
If a cyclist refuses to yield, then they will cause a crash as the car will have nowhere to go. Any time that a biker is negligent, they run the risk of getting hit from drivers that don’t expect it.
Negligence from either party is dangerous and must be avoided to prevent cyclist crashes.
Lack of Respect
Lastly, a lack of respect causes bike crashes.
Many drivers aren’t fond of bikers and don’t appreciate needing to share the road with them. Cyclists often go below the speed limit and don’t always make it easy to pass them.
Furthermore, some bikers choose to act like a pedestrian when it suits them and this can anger people in vehicles who can’t move.
There are many understandable reasons for disliking cyclists, but none of them are grounds for causing an accident. Despite this, some drivers do intentionally cause accidents because of their disdain for bikers.
Whether it’s a direct hit, lack of regard, or forcing the biker off the road, intentional accidents are malicious and often unavoidable.
Remember to always give bikers plenty of space and never put them in a dangerous situation.
Cyclist accidents are scary, causing serious injuries with the potential of being deadly. Both cars and bikers can make mistakes and take actions that lead to a crash.
A few causes for cyclist crashes include inattentiveness, poor visibility, negligence, and lack of respect. Any of these conditions heighten the possibility of an accident but are entirely avoidable.
With this in mind, it’s on you to help prevent biker crashes whether you’re behind the wheel of a car or bike. Exercise caution anytime you’re around a bike and be particularly safe whenever you’re riding.