Because drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all must share the road, accidents are usually unavoidable. And while there are potential dangers to different methods of transportation, driving, cycling or walking can be done safely. Still, if you are aware and cautious of any potential accidents and harm that may come your way, you can more easily avoid causing or being involved in an accident. Here are six situations in which cycling accidents are most likely to occur and how to avoid them.
- Turning Left or Right Onto Another Roadway
When drivers are unaware of advancing cyclists upon making a turn, accidents and injuries are likely to occur. Drivers can turn left and hit the cyclist, or the cyclist may not be able to slow down quickly enough and may wind up slamming into the car. As a driver, you can avoid these types of incidents simply by following proper driving etiquette. Come to a complete stop at each stop sign and look both directions for cyclists—and pedestrians and other vehicles for that matter—before proceeding.
- Opening Your Door While Parallel Parking
When you parallel park, be sure to watch out for cyclists approaching from behind before you open your car door. If you don't pay attention and open the door too quickly, the cyclist may not have enough time to react and slow down, causing them to run into your car door. In this case, the cyclist may flip off their bicycle or suffer serious injuries while lying helplessly in the middle of the road. You can avoid this type of accident by always checking your rearview and side mirrors for cyclists and opening the door slowly so that any approaching riders will have time to slow down.
Cyclists often resort to using pedestrian crosswalks when there is heavy traffic on the road. Be aware that cyclists travel much faster than people on foot, and you may not be able to see them without paying close attention. Always be on the lookout for signs, pavement stripes and riders when you approach a crosswalk to make a turn.
- Riding Against Traffic
Sometimes cyclists ride against traffic due to one-way streets. On these type of roads, vehicles travel in the same direction, but cyclists may be riding toward you. Look both ways before turning onto a one-way street, and always watch for oncoming traffic. Simply being more aware of cyclists sharing the road can save all parties from getting into an accident.
- Turning Right on Red
When you make a right turn at a red light, there may be a bicyclist in your blind spot also attempting to make a right turn. This maneuver can be dangerous because as you both make the turn, you may steer too close to the bicyclist. Avoid an accident by checking your blind spots and checking for approaching bicyclists before making a right turn.
- Simply Not Paying Attention
Accidents can occur simply because drivers do not notice cyclists on the road. Being unaware cyclists share the same road as drivers can lead to a number of accidents that can easily be avoided. To make matters worse, there are a number of cyclists who don't wear recommended reflectors and disregard recommended cycling etiquette.
As a driver with more power on the road than a cyclist, ingrain it into your driving habits to watch out for cyclists and pedestrians. When we are more aware of our surroundings and the people that inhabit the same spaces, we can better share the road and avoid accidents. Still need some tips? Driving-tests.org offers a great resource for sharing the road with bicyclists and ways you can prevent accidents.