Defensive Riding Tactics at Intersections and Side Roads for Cyclists
States across the US have made efforts to increase cyclist and pedestrian safety over the last few years. However, there are still hundreds of thousands of collisions with cars that cause serious injury to cyclists every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 726 cyclists died in 2014. When going up against two tons of steel, which is the average size of a vehicle nowadays, the cyclist will lose 100% of the time, the same as a pedestrian will. Even if you are the most defensive riding, cautious cyclist on the planet, it is likely that if you spend enough time commuting or riding for fun, there will still be countless times each year in which your life flashes before your eyes.
The main cause of serious injury and fatality for cyclists is drivers fail to yield the right of way, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An example of this is when the cyclist is travelling straight on the main road and a car from a side street pulls out in front of him or her, or a car travelling in the same lane of traffic or to the left of the bike lane cuts the cyclist off while making a right turn, which is called a right hook in cycling nomenclature. Often, the driver will claim to not have seen the cyclist, which is quite possible considering the fact that the majority of the population admits to texting or talking on the phone while driving. It may also be an excuse, and one that seems to work many times to keep the citation at a bare minimum of careless driving or even no fault of the driver. But no matter the excuse, the citation or lack thereof, or the reason behind the driver’s negligence, the only party that suffers the dire consequences of a cyclist versus car collision is the cyclist. Follow the tips listed below to help minimize your chances of being hit, and if you have been hit and injured by a vehicle, contact an experienced bike accident attorney at once.
Intersections and Side Streets
Whenever you approach an intersection, even if you have the right of way with a green light, keep your hands rested on the brakes and quickly scan left and right to look for vehicles that may go through the intersection and fail to yield. If you pull up to the stoplight in the bike lane, passing stopped or slow moving traffic on the left, keep an eye out for cars that may suddenly turn without warning into your bike lane or cross the bike lane to make a right hand turn. Watch for the turning of the front right wheel of vehicles. If a driver has reached this stopped or slow moving point so close to the intersection without signaling, it is likely that they will not signal, so do not assume that if there is no blinking turn signal that the vehicle will not turn anyways. Use a similar approach when passing by side streets. If a car is waiting to merge into your lane of traffic or pull out and make a left turn to go the opposite direction, keep your hands ready to break, move slightly towards the center of the lane (to the left) to grab the attention of that driver and give yourself room to maneuver. If you have been hit and injured by a vehicle, contact an experienced bike accident attorney immediately.