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3 Different Types Of Bicycle Collisions And How To Avoid Them

Updated on March 17, 2016

While generally bicycle safety guidelines can instruct you in ways to follow the law, reduce your vulnerability as a rider and protect you in case of an accident, they don’t often list real scenarios when you are most at risk and how to approach them. The fact of riding in traffic is certain situations are going to increase the risk of something happening. Because of how drivers naturally respond to various occurrences in traffic, there are times when it’s harder to spot or anticipate a bicyclist. So how do you handle these situations? While general safety guidelines do a lot by way of keeping you safe, having a little knowledge of when as a bicyclist you are most vulnerable can also be beneficial.

  1. Red light incident- In this scenario both you and a car come to a stop at a red light. Often if you’ve approached the light and stopped after the car has it can be difficult for them to spot you. Sometimes even if you’re riding alongside a vehicle drivers won’t know that you’ve stopped alongside them. When the light turns green you run a risk of the car turning right and hitting you while doing so. How do you prevent this? The easiest way to prevent this sort of accident is by making sure that you’re seen by the driver. You can do this by either stopping directly alongside the passenger window and catching the eye of the driver, or by stopping directly behind the car. In this case you’d pull into the lane and demand to be recognized as a vehicle, waiting on the car in front of you and eliminating your risk of being hit.

  2. Right crossover- In this instance a car is pulling out from either a side street, or exiting a parking lot or venue, going left by crossing through the right lane of traffic. If you are riding in the right lane of traffic your risk of getting hit increases significantly. Often the car is most focused on vehicles oncoming, going both right and left, and isn’t as capable of spotting bicyclists. What can you do to protect yourself in this situation? First make sure that if you’re riding at night you are using a bright and visible headlight. Although it may seem awkward or embarrassing you should not be afraid to wave your arms to get the drivers attention, especially if you feel they haven’t seen you. You can also try to ride further left in the bike lane increasing your visibility.

  3. Door crash- If you’re riding and a parked car opens his door before you can swerve to avoid it, you’re in quite a bit of trouble. Although this sort of collision sounds comical, it’s more common and serious than you might believe. Preventing this type of incident is done by simply riding further left in the bike lane. Many cyclists are wary of doing this because they fear being hit from behind. In reality you’re actually at a greater risk of colliding with an oncoming door.

Although wearing a helmet can’t prevent you from being hit by a car, it can help protect you in the awful case that something does happen. Be sure to follow safety guidelines in addition to consider your role and responsibility as a cyclist on the road.


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