It has become increasingly risky for individuals to ride their bikes these days. With more distracted and reckless drivers occupying the roads, bicyclists need to heighten their awareness while riding to prevent from engaging in a wreck with a pedestrian, another bicyclist, or worse—a vehicle. while most bike riders are aware of the more common safety measures they should be taking, many are unaware of some of the laws they are required to abide by that aim to help keep them safe.
Common types of crashes the U.S. Department of Transportation says occur between bikes and cars and what riders can do to avoid these types of accidents.
- Head-on collision with a car. When a bicyclist drives on the road or sidewalk against the flow of traffic, they run the risk of approaching a motorist head-on. The U.S. Department of Transportation says that “a motorist does not expect traffic to be approaching from the wrong direction” which is why these types of accidents occur and “the main reason why it is unlawful to drive facing traffic.”
What can a bicyclist do to prevent a head-on collision with a car?
- Ride with the flow and in the same direction as traffic is traveling in.
- “Be a predictable part of traffic.”
- Use added caution “if you are legally permitted to ride on the sidewalk. Motorists do not look for or expect to see faster moving traffic on a sidewalk.”
- Bicycle ride-out accidents. “When a bicyclist enters a roadway suddenly or from where they are not expected, the motorist doesn’t have enough time to see you, react, and stop to avoid a crash.” For example, if you were to enter the road from a residential or commercial driveway, an alley, a curb, or a sidewalk without slowing or stopping to see if any traffic is approaching, you put yourself at risk of being hit by another driver.
Ways to reduce your chances of engaging in a bicycle ride-out accident:
- Before you enter a roadway, stop and look left, then right, then left again for traffic.
- Always “drive focused, using both your eyes and your ears to look and listen for traffic.” It is not recommended that you listen to music or other electronic devices while riding your bike.
- Consider driving defensively. You can do this by keeping an eye out for motorists in driveways or those that are parked on the street and be prepared to avoid them in the event they don’t see you.
- Motorist ride-out accidents. If you reverse the scenario described above (i.e. bicycle ride-out accident), then it would be the motorist who fails to stop and look before entering the roadway. These types of accidents occur when a driver backs up from their driveway or out of a parking space without checking to see if the coast is clear first.
- Red-light running accident. Bicyclists, like motorists, are required to obey all signs and traffic signals to maintain a positive flow of traffic and of course, to prevent an accident. Sometimes, bicyclists are guilty of running a red light or sign while other times, it is the driver who fails to follow the law.
What can a bicyclist do to prevent from engaging in a red-light running crash?
- Always “follow the same rules of the road as cars, including obeying traffic signals and signs.”
- Be sure to communicate with drivers what your intentions are. This might include making eye contact, waving, or verbally communicating with a motorist before you enter an intersection or roadway.
- “Ride defensively – watch for others who ignore signs and signals. Slow and scan for cross traffic at intersections; prepare to stop or quickly turn if a motorist doesn’t stop.”
- Learn and employ “quick evasive actions to avoid crashes.”
- A motorist makes a right turn and collides with a bicyclist or a driver fails to yield before turning right. These types of crashs can be prevented by:
- Always watching for motorists who might be preparing to turn and “attempt to make your presence known to the 1motorist.”
- “Ride predictably.” For example, drivers expect you to travel in the same direction as traffic is going and in a straight line.
- Make yourself visible to other drivers. This can be accomplished by wearing bright colors, reflective gear, and equipping your bike with lights for nighttime riding.
- Be alert at all times and always scan for vehicles.
- “Be prepared to make an emergency turn or stop if necessary, even if you have the right of way.”
By familiarizing yourself with the different types of crashs that frequently occur between bicyclists and motorists in TN along with the laws you are required to abide by, you can learn how to avoid them. In 2018, 857 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. [Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)]. When a cyclist engages in a wreck, the likelihood of them suffering fatal or serious injuries is high. Therefore, if you are someone who enjoys riding or have children who do, please keep the following information in mind each time you ride.
In the event you or a family member was involved in a bicycle accident in Nashville, TN while riding your bike, contact the Law Office of George R. Fusner Jr. to speak with a Nashville, TN personal injury attorney who can determine how much you might be entitled to collect for your losses.
You can reach the Law Office of George R. Fusner Jr. at
7104 Peach Court
Brentwood, TN 37027