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How Can Bicyclists Avoid Accidents with Cars

Car Accidents

Cycling is an environmentally-friendly and healthy mode of transportation. The high number of fair weather days makes it a very popular leisure sport and a common way of getting around. Unfortunately, being on a bicycle can be very dangerous when sharing the road with motor vehicles. Bicycles don’t have as much structural integrity and the rider is very exposed. This makes a collision with a car potentially very damaging and dangerous. If you have been struck by a vehicle while riding your bicycle, speak with our Sacramento-based attorney for bicycle incidents who can guide you to the best course of action.

Bicycles are generally considered another vehicle on the road, though cars have a 7:1 size ratio to bicycles. Nevertheless, bicyclists are expected to follow all applicable laws as a car would. This means coming to a complete stop and taking turns in an intersection. Cyclists who do not follow the rules of the road and end up in a collision are susceptible to being liable for the crash, even if they are much more injured or incur more damage.

Though some individuals may use bicycles for leisure and won’t come across roads with other cars, many people, especially in California, use their bicycles for daily transportation. Collisions with cars are relatively rare compared to bike-only collisions, but they can really hurt a person on a bike so it’s best to do everything possible to avoid it. Intersections are the most likely place for a bicyclist to collide with a car. As much as 45% of collisions involving a bicycle and a car occur at intersections. Every case is different and only experienced accident lawyers in Sacramento are equipped enough to handle yours.

In order to avoid a collision with a car at an intersection, bicyclists should increase their visibility, understand the rules of the road, understand the elevated risk of biking in an intersection, and recognize some of the more dangerous intersection hazards, such as blind turns.

Some of the dangers found at intersections are:

  • Cars don’t expect to see a bike
  • Cars can’t see the bike
  • Cars underestimate the speed of the bike

Essentially, drivers of cars and other vehicles aren’t regularly on the lookout for bicyclists and don’t know what to expect of their behavior when they are there. When on a bike, it’s important to keep aware of your surroundings and move in a way that other drivers can anticipate. This can be accomplished by following the rules of the road and by assuming other cars aren’t aware of your presence – so don’t pull out in front of one!

Some things you should do as precautionary measures are:

  • Increase your visibility!
  • Follow the rules of the road
  • Be aware of the movements of other vehicles
  • Bike defensively
  • Know and be ready to execute emergency maneuvers

Increasing Your Visibility

The most common excuse drivers make when they collide with a bicyclist is that they didn’t see them. Bikers can blend in with the background and are much less conspicuous than a 2,000 lb hunk of metal, which is what other drivers are usually trained to look for. By increasing your visibility, it is possible to decrease the chance of a collision with a car dramatically. How can this be accomplished?

  • Install light and reflectors – This is the law when riding at night or in low-light conditions (e.g. fog) but It’s also a good idea to ride with your light on during the day, too. Reflectors increase the distance from which a bicyclist is visible from 150 to 2200 feet at night!
  • Wear brightly-colored clothing – the most visible colors are fluorescent yellow-green and fluorescent orange. Purchasing a reflector vest in one of these colors to wear when riding a bike is very strategic. This increases the distance from which a bicyclist is visible from 400 to 2200 feet!

If you have any questions regarding bike and car accidents, speak with some accident lawyers in Sacramento who could provide the advice to avoid collisions but also provide the legal assistance to fight your claim if you’ve been injured.

Most Collisions Occur at Night and Involve Alcohol

Most collisions between cars and bicycles occur at night. As mentioned above, it is a legal requirement that bicyclists have reflectors and a lamp on their bike when riding at night. These precautions greatly increase visibility, giving a driver of a car or other motor vehicle more time to react to the presence of the bicyclist.

Alcohol is an extremely dangerous and unfortunately common substance for individuals to use while behind the wheel. When a drunk driver encounters a bicyclist, the results can be devastating and are often fatal. Drivers under the influence have a much slower reaction time than sober drivers, who already find it difficult to see and react to bicyclists.

It’s a good idea to avoid riding a bicycle at times when drunk drivers are more likely to be on the road, such as late at night, during holidays, and at various times in college towns.

Drivers aren’t the only individuals who are guilty of operating a transportation vehicle under the influence – because of the lack of an engine, many bicyclists don’t see much harm in biking home after a night on the town. Unfortunately, bicyclists may encounter cars and other hazards while on the road and being less than oneself is a very dangerous condition to be in when it may be necessary to act defensively or cautiously. The best thing to do is to not drink and bike and to avoid times and areas where drunk individuals may be behind the wheel.

Speak with One of Our Accident Lawyers in Sacramento Regarding Your Bicycle Accident

Our accident lawyers in Sacramento have the resources and experience to provide legal advice to avoid car accidents as a bicyclist but can also provide the legal actions to get you the compensation you deserve if you have been injured. Call The Weinberger Law Firm at (916) 357-6767 or send us an email using the contact form.

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