There are 54.7 million people who ride bicycles in the United States. Due to the high number of bicycle users, over 130,000 people are injured in bicycle accidents, and over 1,230 die each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most common cause of bicycle accidents is getting hit by a car. Other causes of bicycle accidents may be poor road conditions, striking a fixed object, swerving to avoid an animal, and more. Cyclists are at a disadvantage to cars on the road due to their size and lack of protection that it offers. Bicycle accidents can be fatal and even cause death.

 

Causes of bicycle accidents involving other motor vehicles

Bicycle crashes are very common on public roads. Various circumstances can cause bicycle accidents, many related to drivers. The common causes of bicycle accidents are:

 

Dooring incidents

Dooring occurs when a person parks and opens their driver’s side door along the road without looking. Bicyclists riding at high speed do not have enough time to react before colliding with an open car door, which can result in severe injuries.

 

Rear-ends

Bicycles travel in the same direction as the rest of the traffic. When a bicycle stops at a red light, it has little control over what will happen behind it, placing it at risk of a rear-wheel collision.

 

Dangerous right turns

Many drivers fail to look right when making a right turn. They only see if any traffic is coming from the left and proceed to make a move, which can cause them to collide with cyclists that are coming from the right.

 

Failure to yield

Careless and reckless driving poses severe risks for bicyclists. Drivers who fail to yield in roundabouts and intersections with merging lanes cause collisions with cyclists.

 

Distracted driving

causes of bicycle accident (distracted driving)

Distracted driving is the top cause of all types of vehicle collisions. When drivers pay attention to their phones instead of their surroundings, they will likely cause dangerous crashes. Common forms of distracted driving include:

  • Reading and responding to text messages
  • Dialing phone numbers
  • Talking on the phone
  • Using social media

 

Other common causes of bicycle accidents

Bicycle accident is not only caused by the car driver. There are other factors that can cause bicycle accidents. Those are:

 

Mechanical failure

Mechanical failures are responsible for only a minority of bicycle accidents. Mechanical failures like tire blowouts, broken cranks, snapped chains, weak forks, and many others are some of the reasons for bicycle accidents.

 

Lack of bicycling skills

If you lack skill or experience in cycling, you are more likely to be involved in an accident. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at cycling. Without practice, it is easier for you to lose balance, have trouble navigating objects and misjudge turns.

 

Reckless bicycling behavior

Reckless bicycling behaviour, like sudden movements and breaking traffic rules, can cause bicycle accidents. Sudden swerving, weaving in and out of traffic or cutting off others can block other cyclists or drivers, leading to an accident. Breaking traffic rules like running a red light, disregarding stop signs, not yielding to pedestrians or not following stop signs can cause collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians.

 

Animal attack

Animal attacks can cause bicycle accidents in many ways. Sometimes, when an animal suddenly appears in the cycling lane, it scares cyclists, leading to a loss of control or an accident. In other situations, cyclists might swerve suddenly to avoid hitting an animal, causing them to lose balance and collide with nearby obstacles. Moreover, larger animals like deer or livestock can collide with cyclists, causing significant accidents.

 

Unexpected road hazards

Unexpected road hazards can pose serious risks for cyclists, often leading to accidents. Hazards like potholes, debris, gravel, or uneven surfaces can catch cyclists off guard, causing them to lose balance or control. When cyclists encounter these hazards unexpectedly, it can result in sudden manoeuvres to avoid them, potentially causing collisions with other riders or vehicles. Moreover, slippery surfaces due to wet weather or oil spills can significantly reduce traction, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

 

What is bicycle safety?

Bicycle safety can be defined by using road traffic safety practices to reduce the risk associated with cycling. Bicycle safety involves following traffic rules and wearing safety equipment to reduce injuries in case of an accident.

 

How common are bike accidents?

For nearly two decades, the rate of bicycling has been stable in the United States. However, with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cycle riding enthusiasts has risen suddenly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1000 cyclists die, and over 130,000 are injured in bicycle accidents each year.

 

What are the injuries from bicycle accidents?

Some of the most common bicycle accident injuries are:

  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injury

To learn more about injuries from bicycle accidents, visit: What Is the Most Common Bicycle Injury?

 

How to reduce your risk of bicycle accident?

Cyclists are more likely to suffer severe injuries during a bicycle accident. Therefore, cyclists must take all necessary precautions to avoid injury as much as possible.

The following precautions will reduce the risk of injury.

  • You should wear a properly fitted helmet.
  • Wear fluorescent clothes during day hours.
  • Wear reflective clothes at night.
  • Make sure you have the right size bike for your size.

 

What to do if you’re hurt in a bicycle accident?

Contact JG Winter Law: your personal injury lawyer in California

After a bicycle accident, you should get off the road as soon as possible. If you’re injured, call 911 or the local emergency number. It is important to have a legal record of the accident in the form of a police report, which can help you claim your damages. You should exchange information like contact and insurance numbers with the other party. You can also take a picture of the motorist’s driver’s license, license plate, and insurance card.

If you’ve been injured or suffered economic or emotional damage, you should consider contacting a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer at JG Winter Law. With more than 16 years of experience, we can help you get compensated for all your losses. Contact us for a free consultation.