Whether you ride your bicycle as your primary mode of transportation, for exercise, or for pleasure, you must abide by the same rules of the road as car drivers. Even when you’re obeying the laws, you may wind up left in the dust when you’re in a bicycle accident.
Unfortunately, bicyclists often get caught in dangerous situations while riding. Some sustain minor injuries while others will have severe wounds that prevent them from ever enjoying a bike ride again.
Traumatic injuries can result in hospital bills that put you further into debt, all the while leaving you with lasting pain. When bicycle accidents are caused by negligent drivers on the road, you’ll want to hold them accountable to get the compensation you deserve.
While many factors can contribute to bicycle accidents, here are the top 5 common causes.
1. Distracted Driving
Without a doubt, distracted driving takes the lead for causes of all motor vehicle accidents, especially those that involve bicycles. With ever-present technology, many drivers try to multi-task and text, look up videos, use social media, and make phone calls. They’re busy staring at their screens rather than watching the road.
Phones and tablets aren’t the only ways a driver can be distracted behind the wheel, though. Many drivers will eat while commuting, apply makeup or shave, fiddle with the sound system, or engage with their passengers. Regardless of what pulled their attention from the road, distracted drivers who cause bicycle accidents will be held liable.
2. Not Providing an Adequate Buffer
Drivers who act like road hogs by following bicyclists too closely or passing without leaving enough space are a danger to everyone. If a driver fails to provide an adequate buffer to someone on a bicycle, it can lead to a serious crash. Even if you’re riding your bicycle and fall off as a result of your own actions, someone who isn’t leaving enough space for you could still hit you or run you over while you’re on the ground.
Drivers who speed make it harder to stop in time when there’s an obstacle ahead. When a car is speeding and hits a bicyclist, it usually results in severe or even fatal injuries. It should be noted that even at lower speeds, cars can cause serious injuries to bicyclists. When speeding is a factor, the driver may be considered negligent and held liable for the accident.
4. Reckless Driving
There are many things a driver can do to be reckless on the road. Some of them weave in and out through traffic. When they pull this maneuver, they’re far less likely to notice cyclists. Often, they drift outside the traffic lanes and right into bike lanes without so much as a glance.
But a driver doesn’t need to be weaving in and out of traffic like a maniac to be reckless. Making unsafe lane changes is another hallmark of being careless behind the wheel. Many drivers fail to look before changing lanes. Additionally, they may turn without looking at intersections to be sure the way is clear. This is how many bicycle and pedestrian accidents occur.
Similarly, failing to yield at intersections or roundabouts can have the same tragic results. Those who blatantly run stop signs or red lights are ruthlessly reckless. It’s dangerous for other drivers, but more likely to be deadly for those riding bikes.
5. Impaired Driving
One of the worst decisions anyone can make is to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Everyone is at risk from this selfish type of behavior, but those on bicycles are in the most danger. It’s far more likely that someone under the influence will not see a bicyclist and that they will not obey traffic laws.
No matter what caused your bicycle accident, you shouldn’t be left with mountains of debt to overcome just because someone else was negligent behind the wheel. A bicycle accident attorney can make sure that the at-fault party is held responsible for your injuries. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to help you recover the compensation you need for your damages from this crash.