There are many factors that can contribute to bicycle accidents, some of which are related to drivers in their automobiles. Oftentimes, drivers fail to consider the fact that they are sharing the road with motorcyclists and bicyclists and make mistakes, such as making turns without looking for cyclists and not practicing proper safety precautions when changing lanes.
Bicyclists Must Be Vigilant in Protecting Themselves
Regardless of whether you ride as a serious hobby, a means to burn a few calories, or as a commuter to school or work, you must always be aware of the serious risks of biking on most roadways. Many drivers put bicyclists in precarious positions due to road rage, simple neglect, and sheer ignorance of cyclists’ rights. This often leads to accidents, and for obvious reasons, the cyclist is more likely to be seriously injured than the individual in a vehicle.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
- Fatigued drivers. When an individual is operating a motor vehicle while fatigued, it can result in the same severe risks as driving while impaired. This often happens with drivers who are tired after a long day at work, and those who leave home early in the morning after just waking up or individuals who are out late at night.
- Impaired drivers. It is no secret that individuals who decide to drive when they are high or drunk are a danger to everyone on the road. Judgment, reaction time, vision, and many other factors can be affected when intoxicated, which often leads to disastrous accidents. It is also important to note that bicyclists, as well as drivers, should only be on the road when they are sober.
- Not yielding according to the law. One of the other major dangers to everyone on the road is the failure to yield. Bicyclists must adhere to the same rules of the road as drivers, and they are also afforded the same rights as those in motor vehicles. This means that drivers must yield to cyclists just as they would to other cars—whether it is when they are merging lanes, in an intersection, or at a roundabout or a highway exit/entrance ramp.
- Running stop signs and red lights. Whether it is on a major roadway, in a quiet suburb, or at a busy city intersection, failing to stop for red lights or stop signs is a common cause of severe accidents. This can result in deadly collisions not only between vehicles but between a vehicle and a bike. Drivers and cyclists should always approach intersections with extreme caution.
- Making a turn without using caution. One of the most easily avoidable collisions occurs when a driver turns on a green light but fails to check for pedestrians and bicyclists. This is a prime example of the way many drivers fail to share the road with others.
- Not changing lanes safely. Although we tend to think of drivers who weave in and out of lanes on busy highways as the primary cause of lane change accidents, they can be caused by much simpler mistakes. Even a single lane change can be dangerous if the driver is not exercising caution. It is vital for drivers and cyclists alike to make sure the lane is clear before merging.
- Weaving through traffic. On the more excessive end of the lane change spectrum are the drivers who make constant lane changes in heavy traffic. These drivers often fail to see cyclists, drift into bike lanes, and have trouble performing evasive maneuvers to avoid accidents.
- Excessive speed. When a driver is speeding, the time they must make decisions and come to a stop on the road is diminished. This not only applies to high-speed accidents on major roadways but can be equally as dangerous when traveling at relatively lower speeds in residential areas.
- Not leaving a sufficient buffer. A driver who follows too closely to a bicyclist or passes within less than three feet puts the cyclist in imminent danger. This creates a situation in which there are fewer possible maneuvers to avoid a collision, and they are much more likely to hit the cyclist.
- Driving while distracted. This is a danger on the road, on par with driving while intoxicated or fatigued. Drivers are most often distracted by their cell phones, whether it is by using social media, dialing numbers and carrying on conversations, checking their GPS apps, playing music, or texting and reading text messages.
How Do You Get Help if You Are Injured in a Bicycle Accident?
If you have been in a bicycle accident and injured by a driver’s careless actions, you may be entitled to financial compensation that can aid in your recovery. Cycling accidents may be minor, but oftentimes they are very severe and result in traumatic injuries. These accidents lead to terribly expensive medical costs, as well as non-financial losses, such as limited mobility and chronic pain.
To see compensation for losses sustained in a bicycle accident, the first thing you must do is determine what caused the collision. The best way to do this is to hire a personal injury attorney who can conduct a proper investigation as soon as you are able to.
Why Is the Cause of the Accident Important?
The reason you need to know the specific cause of your bicycle accident is that this is the means by which you will hold the driver accountable. The process of attaining compensation will typically go through the driver’s insurance company, but you will need to prove to the insurance provider that the driver’s negligent actions caused the collision. There are some instances in which a cyclist may be hit by a vehicle, and the driver is not to blame. For this reason, it is essential to be able to prove that the driver was responsible to file a successful claim.
Trust the Legal Professionals With a Record of Success
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you want to hire a legal team that knows how to best handle your unique situation. The attorneys at Guenard & Bozarth, LLP have a track record that speaks for itself. Our compassionate team can walk you through the process from start to finish and help you secure the compensation you need to recover from your injuries and move on. Visit our website today to see how we can help you.