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Bicycle accidents are often devastating for those involved, particularly because cyclists do not have very much protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them. Because of this significant vulnerability, it is crucial to examine the most common causes of bicycle accidents. If you are a cyclist, or even if you are a driver, it is helpful to know how these accidents occur so that you can take the steps necessary to avoid them from becoming a reality on our roadways.
Data provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety shows us that there were more than 10,000 bicyclist injuries as a result of collisions with motor vehicles during the latest reporting year. Unfortunately, 133 bicyclists lost their lives as a result of car crashes. There has been a decrease in bicyclist injuries and fatalities over the last few years, but the reality is that these incidents still occur way more often than they should.
When our Orange County injury lawyers examined bicycle accidents in California and throughout the US, we can see that some of the most frequently cited causes of these incidents include the following:
Drivers are becoming more and more distracted behind the wheel of their vehicles. With the use of smartphones and other devices continuing to increase, this is decreasing the safety of bicyclists. When drivers do not pay attention to the roadway, they are much less likely to see a bicycle in their path.
Most vehicle drivers do not realize that bicycles should be treated like other vehicles on the roadway, and they should be yielded to in most situations. Unfortunately, vehicle drivers often fail to yield the right of way to bicyclists at intersections and when they are on the roadway.
Bicyclists can disregard their own safety in a variety of ways. This includes riding a bicycle while distracted by their electronic devices, riding with headphones in, and by not paying attention to road signs.
Bicyclists are more susceptible to hazards on the roadway than those inside traditional vehicles. States and municipalities have an obligation to ensure that the roadways, including bike lanes, are maintained and in good riding condition. However, a significant number of all bicycle accident injuries are caused by poorly maintained roadways.
Riding a bicycle at night is much more dangerous than doing so during the day. If a bicyclist does need to ride at night, they should wear proper reflective gear and have lights on their bicycle visible to drivers.
When drivers on the roadway are impaired by alcohol or drugs, they will be much more likely to be involved in an accident with other vehicles and with bicyclists.
It is imperative for vehicle drivers and bicyclists to understand the laws of the roadway and to properly respect one another. Vehicle drivers must be attentive and give bicyclists the space that they need. Bicyclists have to obey the rules of the roadway and should wear proper safety gear, including helmets, to prevent serious injuries from occurring if a collision does happen.