Riding your bike around cars often feels very dangerous, but it’s also unavoidable. You need to share the road with motor vehicles. What types of risks do you take on and how can you avoid them? Here are a few key examples.
You get hit as a car turns
Even if you have the right of way, a turning driver may not see you. You could get hit as they turn right, if you’re on the shoulder or in the bike lane, or as a driver coming toward you turns left. Either way, you can suffer serious injuries in a split second.
A driver opens the door into the road
This is known as getting “doored.” If you’re riding next to cars that are parked on the shoulder, a driver who hops out of the car without looking may open the door into your path. Hitting that door at speed feels like hitting a brick wall. Swerving means riding into traffic. There are no good options for you as a cyclist.
You get hit by a car that passes you
These accidents are not nearly as common as people assume. In fact, those who ride on the sidewalk actually face greater accident risks, since turning drivers don’t expect them there, but they feel safer since the cars aren’t so close. Still, especially with the proliferation of distracted driving and drunk driving, these overtaking accidents do happen.
You get hit at a red light
People often do not use their blinkers when turning. If traffic stops at a red light, you may ride up next to a car that you think is going straight. If that driver is actually turning, they’ll turn right as soon as you start riding through the green light. This is a low-speed crash, but you can still get injured.
What can you do?
Unfortunately, it’s often nearly impossible to avoid a crash since drivers make mistakes and hit cyclists, even when the cyclists follow all of the rules of the road. What you need to know is how to seek compensation after the crash.