Many bicyclists in the Ann Arbor area assume they are accident proof when riding on the streets. They assume motorists will automatically give them the right away and adjust their driving behaviors to avoid endangering them. Little do they realize that many drivers are not giving the roads their full attention, nor do they keep an eye out for bicyclists.
Even when they wear helmets, reflective clothing and do their best to avoid cars, there is still a substantial risk of cyclists being hit by cars, injured or even dying. Before you go riding, take some time to learn the common causes of motor vehicle and bicycle accidents so you can better avoid them.
Motorists do not usually expect to see bikers in the path of their doors before they open them. As a result, they do not check for them. What commonly happens is a driver opens her or his door, and an oncoming bicyclist quickly stops or swerves out the way to avoid it, putting her or him in the path of oncoming traffic.
Rear-end accidents are the most common cause of bicycle and motor vehicle mishaps. Some drivers may misjudge the distance between their cars and bicyclists, causing them to infringe on their right of way and not travel at safe distances. Drivers may also be distracted or make errors that cause them to rear end bikers because they did leave themselves enough time to maneuver safely around.
Failing to yield the right of way
Many bicycle accidents are the result of motorists not giving bikers the right of way. Cyclists and motor vehicles have the same traffic rights. Motorists should give them enough time to clear traffic before proceeding. They should also follow all traffic rules and yield the right away when appropriate.
Distracted bikers and drivers
Distracted drivers are the new drunk drivers. They text, send emails, make phone calls, mess with things inside of their vehicles, converse and engage in other risky behavior that keeps their attention off roads and bicyclists who are on them. Many bicyclists are also guilty of riding while distracted, which can result in cyclist negligence. When distractions are present, the chances of collision between bikers and motorists increases significantly.
Bicycle accidents that involve motor vehicles are preventable. Cyclists should wear safety gear, pay attention and ride in designated bicycle lanes. Motorists should give their full attention to the streets and extend the proper road courtesies to cyclists.