When a bicycle collides with a motor vehicle, the damages can be devastating. In fact, there were 868 bicycle accident deaths that occurred in 2018, most of whom were adults.
Accidents that don’t cause death can cause severe, life-changing injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, internal injuries, and more. Even minor injuries can be life-changing, requiring long-term physical therapy.
Bicycle accidents are also most commonly caused by motor vehicle driver negligence, and not because of the fault of the cyclist, which you’ll see reflected below.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the number one cause of all types of collisions, including bicycle accidents. When we think about distractions, we often think about texting or talking on the phone, but those aren’t the only distractions that can cause an accident to occur.
Any act that takes one’s mind, eyes, or ears off the road is a distraction, such as eating, applying makeup, using social media, or talking to someone in the back seat. Drivers may see these tasks as harmless, but they aren’t; they’re negligent.
2. Drivers Not Giving Cyclists Enough Space
When a driver doesn’t leave a safe distance between their vehicle and a cyclist, they are much more likely to hit the cyclists. When they don’t leave a buffer, it gives both the cyclist and the driver a smaller margin to avoid potential accidents and obstacles.
3. Drivers Speeding Past Bicyclists
Drivers sometimes believe that speeding past a bicyclist is the right move, allowing them to get out of the way of the cyclist as fast as possible, but speeding actually makes matters worse.
Not only does speeding decrease the driver’s stopping time, putting them at a higher risk for an accident, but it also decreases their ability to make quick decisions to avoid accidents.
4. Aggressive Driving Through Traffic
Impatient drivers may weave in between traffic, switching lanes frequently to avoid slow drivers. When a driver weaves between cars, they’re less likely to see a cyclist (whether they’re on the road or in the emergency/bicycle lane).
5. Driver Making an Abrupt Lane Change
Weaving refers to the act of moving in and out of lanes multiple times. However, even one abrupt lane change is enough to cause a bicycle accident. If a driver makes an abrupt lane change without looking, they could hit a cyclist.
Because bicycles are small, they’re more likely to stay in someone’s blind spot, meaning drivers have to really look before making a lane change.
6. Turning without Looking Out for Cyclists
When turning at a stop sign or a red light, drivers must take a moment to ensure that no pedestrians or cyclists are going through the intersection. These types of accidents are especially common at right turns and left turns with yields.
When a cyclist is going straight, either in the same direction (right turn) or from the opposite direction (left turn), a driver might not see them if they aren’t paying close enough attention to the road.
7. Driver Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
Running a red light or a stop sign in a suburban area is a common and easily avoidable cause of accidents. When a driver plows through a light without stopping, they’re likely to hit someone, striking them from the side. These types of accidents are particularly severe, as drivers are often traveling at high speed.
8. Drunk Driving or Driving While High
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol leads to impaired vision, poor critical thinking skills, and the inability to make potentially life-saving decisions.
In Florida, drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher are considered to be too intoxicated to drive. However, when it comes to drugged driving, there is no standard to meet. If there are drugs in one’s system, it’s a DUI.
9. Driver Fatigue
Driving while tired is one of those things that people never see as a problem until it is. Fatigued driving is shown to be just as dangerous as impaired driving, according to some studies.
It only takes a few seconds of having one’s eyes closed to cause an accident. If a bicyclist is driving nearby, a fatigued driver can easily drift out of their lane and cause an accident.
10. Driver Opens Door without Looking
On busy city streets, cars are parked on both sides of the road, with little room for bicyclists to ride safely. If a driver opens their door without looking, a cyclist may not have enough time to correct their path, hitting the door or causing them to hurt themselves while attempting to avoid the door.
Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney Near Me
Bicycle riders are at risk of an accident at all times. Bicyclists must always be on the lookout for their own safety. Nonetheless, it’s important that motor vehicle drivers are practicing proper road safety.
After all, almost all bicycle accidents occur because of the motor vehicle operator.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a bike accident, please contact our talented team of experienced personal injury attorneys for help with your case. Our years of experience will be vital in getting you the compensation and justice that you deserve.